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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Venice considers ban on sitting down in public spaces

If implemented, tourists could be fined up to €500 for breaking the rules

Gondolas are pictured on a canal in Venice. AFP
Gondolas are pictured on a canal in Venice. AFP

Tourists in Venice could soon be banned from sitting and lying on the ground under new plans put forward by the Italian city’s mayor.

Luigi Brugnaro will put the new proposal to a city council vote next month and if implemented, rule-breaking tourists could be fined between €50 and €500 (Dh216 and Dh2160).

Sitting down in tourist hotspots such as St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge is already banned as part of measures introduced last year to clamp down on unruly tourist activity.

The #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign saw the introduction of fines for misdemeanours including walking the streets topless, swimming or diving in the canals and using a bicycle in the city.

As part of the campaign, so-called “angels of decorum” patrol the streets approaching tourists who flout the rules.

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However, the new proposal has been met with opposition by the city’s left-wing residents’ groups, Occupy Venice and Gruppo Aprile 25.

“There is such a long list of things that are forbidden in Venice there is nothing left that you can do,” Marco Gasparinetti, who leads Gruppo Aprile 25, told the Guardian.

“They would need to hire an extra 5,000 officers to properly enforce everything.”

Around 60,000 tourists visit the canal city every day, many of whom arrive by cruise ship, placing a huge strain on the historical infrastructure.

Venice issued a ban last year on cruise ships entering and travelling past St Mark’s Square following complaints from locals about pollution in the waters.

However, the ruling, which will see cruise ships docking at the mainland port of Marghera instead, will not come into effect until 2021.