It can be hard to stay afloat of Italy’s wave of bans on visitor-related misbehaviour. From snacking on the street in Florence to riding a bike in Venice’s city centre, there are specific everyday activities that could see you slapped with a fine of up to €500 (approx. INR 40,000) or Daspo (temporary ban).
Italian authorities have introduced a slew of new rules aimed at curbing unacceptable behaviour, many of which are in response to issues with overtourism. Some have been introduced with a zero-tolerance approach. In June, a Canadian tourist was fined €250 for sunbathing in her bikini in Venice’s Giardini Papadopoli. While in July, two German tourists were fined €950 and immediately asked to leave the city after they were found making coffee on a portable stove beneath the historic Rialto Bridge. 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,” mayor Luigi Brugnaro said at the time, “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.”
It’s not just Venice taking firm action. Two French tourists were caught allegedly taking sand from a beach in Sardinia this month and could face up to six years in prison. And in Rome, police have been encouraging lounging tourists to move from the Spanish Steps as sitting on them is now subject to a fine of about €400. At first glance the rules may seem harsh but residents in Italy are really starting to feel the strain of overtourism. Many have had enough of visitors treating their cities like theme parks. You obviously don’t want to be that person who could cause offence (or worse, commit an offence). Simply respecting Italy and its citizens should be enough to keep you out of trouble but even the most well-intentioned visitor might slip up from time to time.
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With that in mind, here’s a quick brief at what not to do on your next visit to Italy:
1. Purchase unauthorised tours from touts in any city.
2. Purchase “skip-the-line” tours outside historic monuments in Rome such as the Vatican.
3. Join organised pub crawls in Rome.
4. Eat or drink at famous sites in any city, like the Spanish Steps.
5. Sit or lay down in front of shops, historic monuments and bridges. You’ll more than likely be moved on.
6. Eat on the streets of Florence’s historic centre – Via de’ Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna – from noon to 3pm and from 6pm to 10pm daily.
7. Drag pushchairs or wheeled suitcases up the Spanish Steps in Rome.
8. Jump into fountains or otherwise damage or climb on them.
9. Set up picnics in public spaces or pause too long on bridges in Venice.
10. Ride bikes in Venice city centre.
11. Drink alcohol on the street between 8pm and 8am in Venice.
12. Busk on public transport in Rome.
13. Attach lovelocks to bridges in Rome and Venice.
14. Take part in group celebrations such as hen and stag parties outdoors during weeknights in Venice. They’re only permitted outdoors during the day or at weekends.
15. Let your mouth touch the spout of Rome’s public drinking fountains, known as nasoni. Instead cup your hands under the spout of place your finger under the stream to direct an arc of water to your mouth like the Romans do.
16. Drink alcohol out of glass containers on public streets, public transit and in non-enclosed green spaces in Rome after 10pm. Or drink alcohol out of any container after midnight in these spaces.
17. Dress up as a historical figure or character like a “centurion” (gladiator) in Rome and pose for photos with tourists.
18. Walk around shirtless or in your swimwear in any metropolitan area. This state of dress is strictly restricted to the beach or lido.
19. Wear sandals or flip-flops while hiking in Cinque Terre.
20. Swim in the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri. You can visit by boat but swimming in the grotto is strictly forbidden, just ask supermodel Heidi Klum who was fined €6000 ($6696) for taking a dip in the waters this summer.
21. Steal sand from the beaches of Sardinia (or any beach for that matter). You could face up to six years in prison.