Venice is considering a proposal to ban tourists from sitting in town squares or on church steps. The city has grown tired of seeing visitors sitting or lying on public property for lunch or a rest. Fines for violating the ban would range from €50 to €500.
According to Q13 Fox, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, who is leading the proposal debate, will also consider ejecting tourists from Venice for breaking the rules. Some areas of the city, such as the steps and monuments in St Mark’s Square, already ban sitting. The proposal, however, is being opposed by local groups and other politicians.
Marco Gasparinetti, leader of Gruppo Aprile 25, an activist group, told the Guardian that continually banning activities will leave tourists with “nothing left [to] do” in the city. The Angels of Decorum, who target visitors who break the rules, would require police assistance to impose the ban if the proposal is approved. Current bans include opening new takeout restaurants in the city, eating while walking or sitting on steps, and soaking your feet in the canals. The new proposal would also attempt to ban music on boats.
Venice increasingly receives more and more visitors each year and locals fear the city has become saturated. Anti-tourist groups believe visitors are to blame for overcrowding and increasing property costs, which leave residents priced out of the housing market. The city has attempted to build barriers around town to keep the tourists from interfering with the daily lives of locals, but these have been largely unsuccessful.
The city attracts numerous cruise ships, which bring thousands of visitors to the city each day. A ban has been issued to forbid ships from entering through Venice, however, the prohibition won’t go into effect until 2022 when ships will begin docking in Marghera. Additional bans in Italy include beach towels in Sardinia, single-use plastic on Italian islands and vacation home rentals in Valencia. Spain and Croatia, which are also major tourist destinations, have also implemented new bans.
Venice is also considering fining tourists for carrying alcohol after 7 p.m., even in closed bags. Police have said they won't target locals on their way home, but rather drunken visitors. Though tourists have been visiting European cities for decades, the numbers keep rising. France had a record-breaking 87 million tourists last year, Italy had 58.3 million, and even the Netherlands, a country of 17.2 million people, had 17.9 million visitors.