If anyone doubted that Venice’s city officials would take breaches of their newly-introduced rules lying down, the news that two German visitors have been punished for transgressing underlines how seriously they’re implementing them.
The rules, known as Daspos, state that visitors will be penalised if they sit or lie down in front of shops, historic monuments and bridges, wander around shirtless or in swimming costumes, and bathe or swim in the historic canals. They are an extension of the #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign introduced last summer, which banned visitors from littering, setting up picnics in public spaces, pausing too long on bridges and riding bikes through the city.
So when the two backpackers from Berlin sat on the steps of the famous Rialto bridge and took out their portable stove to make themselves a hot beverage, it got them into trouble. According to a statement issued by city authorities, a passer-by reported the pair to the police for making coffee on the historic steps, As a result, the travellers were fined €950 ($1058) for unseemly behaviour and asked to leave Venice. The officials confirmed that this was the 40th time since May that visitors have been ordered to leave town for breaching the rules.
‘'Venice must be respected,” says mayor Luigi Brugnaro, “and bad-mannered people who think they can come here and do what they want must understand that, thanks to local police, they will be caught, punished and expelled. From now on, we will also communicate the identities of those subject to a removal order to their embassies and consulates.”
Drinking alcohol on the street is also forbidden between 8pm and 8am, and group celebrations such as hen and stag parties are only permitted outdoors during the day or at weekends. Minor breaches of these regulations are met with fines starting at €25 ($27.83), while more serious offences will incur the maximum €500 ($555.57) penalty. Venice’s ongoing popularity with visitors is causing issues for city officials, who are striving to protect its monuments and preserve its fragile environment. In the aftermath of a cruise ship crashing into the docks of the Giudecca canal in June, the mayor urged Unesco to place it on its World Heritage site blacklist.