Traveling to Italy is expensive. One must indulge in food, wine, and fun when there, and that doesn’t even include the cost of travel. Now, tourists may find themselves slapped with a fine for taking a break. CNN reports that the mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, has proposed a fine for tourists €500 (about $585).
It’s not as outlandish as it sounds. Tourists are already not allowed to sit in favorite haunts like St. Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge. A representative for Brugnaro said the fine is in the proposal stage. It would need to be approved by the city council in order to become official and to be enforced. So, tourists can rest easy this week.
The mayor proposed the fine as part of the city’s “EnjoyRespectVenezia” campaign. The city embraces tourism, but they are also battling overtourism. While the revenue is nice, too many tourists prevent Venetians from enjoying their own city and cause numerous other issues that put a strain on the city.
Benvenuto a Venezia S.E.R @CardRavasi Con lui e con il Patriarca Moraglia al convegno "Babele o Gerusalemme?" per parlare del ruolo delle città nella vita dell'uomo— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) September 21, 2018
"Per vivere bene in comunità dobbiamo rispettare le regole che ci siamo dati e che devono valere per tutti"
There are other rules in place for tourists, and most are simply good manners as well. Tourists are encouraged to walk on the right, not to stop and linger on bridges, and not to cycle. They’re also reminded not to walk around in swimwear, and not to feed pigeons. There’s also bans on littering, graffiti, and placing padlocks on monuments.
The city has even, in the past, implemented temporary regulations to separate tourists from citizens. CNN reported that in April, the mayor and city Council implemented the regulations over the busy May Day weekend. Tourists were redirected to popular attractions, and certain areas of the city were only accessible to citizens and regular visitors (criteria was determined by if they were in possession of a Venezia Unica card, the official city pass of Venice).
That weekend, tourists driving into the city were turned away if they had not already reserved parking. Some tourists were directed away from usual landing spots and handled in temporary facilities.
This new initiative is just one more that city officials are putting into place with the hope of improving life for citizens of Venice. It’s becoming crowded, and the city’s narrow streets that lend it character become dangerous. It impacts quality of life for locals and it also makes the tourism experience less fun for visitors. Overall, the efforts are made to reward respectful tourists and punish those who don’t plan ahead.