In Travel on Thursday 20th Sep, 2018

Venice mayor suggests sitting-ban for tourists in ‘sinking’ city

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For most cities having too many tourists isn’t a problem, but simply a boost to the local economy.

But things are slightly different in Venice, which is now literally crumbling under the pressure from visitors.

In a desperate attempt to save the sinking city, the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, has suggested people should be banned from sitting or lying down in designated areas.

The famous floating city is quickly sinking due to the masses of tourists that visit each year. To counteract this constant influx, the city council has launched a campaign to control tourist behaviour. 

The newest proposal suggests that anyone who sits down in certain parts of Venice will face fines anywhere between €50 (AUD$80) and €500.

According to the Telegraph, the new rule will be a part of the 2017 campaign #EnjoyRespectVenezia, which was started to conserve the sinking city.

Along with the sitting ban, tourists and residents are faced with a lengthy list of activities they can no longer do in the city. These previously normal activities are now instead treated as a chargeable offence. 

Among other things, the popular romantic gesture of placing a padlock on a bridge was banned in the campaign as the weight of the metal was beginning to destroy long-standing bridges.

Tourists can also say goodbye to sitting on the ground while eating or drinking, walking through the city in their swim suits, feeding pigeons and buying from unlicensed street vendors.

Locals and tourists can’t even push a bicycle through the streets without being slapped with a fine of €77. 

The proposed sitting ban comes only days after the city of Florence banned sitting on the ground in the city centre.

While these rules might seem harsh for those who want to visit the magical city, Venice’s councillor for tourism, Paolo Mar said he believes the campaign is justified. 

“Venice is unique, it’s a special city and people can have fun here,” he said. “But they need to understand that Venice is not a beach. It is an important, fragile city. So when people come to Venice, they need to know the rules.”

The city released a team of 22 ‘decorum angels’ along with the campaign to patrol tourist hot spots and enforce the rules. 

The sitting ban has not been popular with everyone however, with local activist, Tommaso Cacciari, saying: “It’s not a problem of respect if a young person doesn’t have much money and eats a sandwich on the steps.

“To respect Venice you should put a limit on the apartments and the flats that you can put on the tourist market. #EnjoyRespectVenezia is just a propaganda campaign.”

The proposal will be put to a vote in the city council this October.

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