The paper considers a specific type of cultural district, evolving within an art city where the value of cultural heritage and a wide attraction for tourist appear the main features. Such a model faces a growing paradox, since users tend to overexploit cultural resources, while local stakeholders are interested in the sustainability of their protection and promotion. The dilemma is then between attraction on one hand, and genuine cultural values on the other. The experience of many Italian art cities, discussed in the paper through the example of Venice, induces to ask for a new model of governance able to widen the area of financial transfers between the cultural and the tourist sectors. The paper elaborates a series of guidelines for the transformation of Venice into a city of cultural events.