Tourist fines for bad behavior
Venice, Italy's public officials make it easy to match your misdemeanor to your budget.
The expression "biting the hand that feeds you" is nowhere more appropriate than in Venice, Italy, where tourism brings in upwards of €1.5 billion in a typical year.
Major events such as Carnevale and the Biennale art fair draw millions of visitors annually, and public officials have continued to expand the city's tourist infrastructure with new parking facilities, new hotels, and new piers for the private water buses that shuttle daytripper tour groups to the Piazza San Marco.
Yet local politicians seldom miss an opportunity to lambaste tourists for "bad behavior"--or to convert tourist sins (no matter how trifling) into a profit opportunity.
In a remarkable display of tourist hand-biting, the City of Venice has published a menu of "Forbidden Behavior" that lists the fine for each offense. For example:
One has to wonder how many tourists actually swim in Venice's public sewers (a.k.a. canals) or camp out in the city's campi. And yes, tourists (and locals) who sit on narrow footbridges are an impediment to pedestrian traffic.
But fining visitors up to 200 euros for taking a load off their feet, 250 euros for removing a shirt, or 500 euros for tossing bread to seagulls is nothing more than municipal greed--although it's hardly surprising in a place where visitors pay five times as much for a waterbus ride as locals do, and where the city has announced that it will charge admission for day visits to the centro storico or historic center.
Europe for Visitors (including
Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl
Imboden in 2001.
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