With visitor numbers heading towards a staggering 30 million per year, Venice and her denizens are finding it increasingly difficult to cohabit with so many guests. Tempers have been fraying at the sight of people picnicking on front doorsteps, teens leaping into canals and even naked lovers having a snooze on a pontoon.
Venice City Council has taken steps to give visitors some basic guidelines to follow – and implemented some stiff fines if those rules are disobeyed.
The Enjoy Respect Venice campaign has seen a plethora of posters plastered around the city with clear instructions for tourists, which include no swimming, no excessive state of undress and no littering, all of which are common sense to the average traveller. And with fines of €25-€500 or even more, it’s in your interest to stay in line (and fully clothed). The first maximum fine was meted out, not to a visitor, but to a Venetian for urinating in the park – a pee against a tree that cost him €3000!
The mayor himself recently went out with the rubbish collectors to experience for himself the sterling job they perform in clearing up after tourists and locals alike. So, if we all follow a few simple rules and maybe help those refuse collectors by taking our rubbish home with us, Venice might reclaim a little of her lost decorum.
By Jo-Ann Titmarsh