The Italian island of Capri wants to bring in crowd control measures to manage stifling mass tourism, as Venice installed checkpoints capable of blocking off the most congested parts of the World Heritage city.

The limestone outcrop in the Bay of Naples is inundated with two million tourists a year, with the mayor telling the Daily Telegraph the island could "explode" from a social point of view under the sheer weight of visitors.

Venice introduced radical new measures last weekend, installing metal barriers that can divert tourists down less frequented alleyways so that locals and workers can go about their business without constantly dodging tour groups.

Tourists were confronted with the unprecedented sight of the waist-high black checkpoints across lanes leading from Venice railway station towards the Rialto Bridge, St Mark's Square and other popular sights.

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They remained open but if tourist numbers become overwhelming tomorrow, the May Day bank holiday, they will be manned by police and closed to visitors. Only Venetians would be permitted to pass through.

Capri is watching with interest. "We're going to try out an experiment similar to the one in Venice," said Gianni De Martino, the Mayor.

"I well understand the difficulties faced by my Venetian counterpart. We can't stop tourists disembarking but we can do something (to improve the situation)."

Most tourists arrive on large boats and then create a logjam in Marina Grande, the island's small port, by waiting for a funicular railway to take them to Capri village, a once-picturesque settlement that is now crammed with designer shops and gelaterias.

The island announced recently that it is studying the possibility of digging a tunnel that would link the port with Anacapri, high above Capri village.

The 3.2km-long funicular tunnel would not only reduce the queues for the funicular but also cut the number of buses and taxis using the island's narrow, twisting roads.

It is estimated that it would cost €100 million and take several years to construct.