What is it with Venice? It’s almost as if tourists can’t help themselves but get themselves in hot (or as the case may be, extremely cold) water, and the city can’t help itself but dole out fines.
Welcome to Serenissima – the city of canals, serenity, history, gondolas, bridges atmospheric streets and carnival celebrations and bridges in 2022.
That’s right – in recent years, Venice has become super overcrowded. This has involved a fair bit of finger pointing, with such ideas as banning cruise ships and taxing tourists upon entering the city both being floated (as well as making an example out of tourists who contravene standards of “public decorum and decency”) as the city attempts to determine the real cause of of its overtourism problem.
In the meantime though, as authorities attempt to come up with a localised solution to the global problem of overtourism, Venice is trying to keep the crowds under control by at least getting them to behave. This involves fining tourists and banning them (temporarily) from the city for breaking rules.
Speaking of which, a Czech woman has been fined 450 euros ($720 AUD) and banned (for 48 hours) from the city of Venice after sunbathing topless on a war memorial.
The 30 year old tourist left her stuff on the monument last Friday, as one might leave their towel on the beach, and jumped into the water in the freezing cold lagoon, then lay next to the statue, posing for photos taken by two companions.
According to CNN Travel, the bronze statue, which is near the gardens of the Biennale, is of a “murdered female partisan” and is “dedicated to the women who gave their lives in their fight for freedom under fascism.”
A local man, who witnessed the incident, told CNN Travel “it was incredible” that the tourists didn’t understand why their behaviour was a problem and that “they didn’t have the slightest inkling of what they were doing.”
Tourist thrown out of Venice for sunbathing topless on war memorial: The 30-year-old visitor from the Czech Republic was fined $513 and banned from the city for 48 hours, after she was caught swimming in the lagoon and posing topless for photos beside a statue of a murdered war… pic.twitter.com/OlAPwDyNiT
— griffith conner (@griffithconner1) January 25, 2022
He added: “It’s like going to Rome, leaping in the Trevi Fountain and then saying, ‘What do you mean, you can’t do this?'”
“You can say, whatever, they haven’t killed anyone. But when I travel, if I see a fountain, I don’t have the urge to jump in. If I’m in Paris, walking along the Seine, I don’t throw myself into the river… It’s common sense. Why do people do these things in Venice that they wouldn’t do elsewhere?”
This is not the first time tourists have been fined for acting up in Venice. Two tourists were fined $1,500 for making themselves a coffee on a camping stove on the steps of the Rialto bridge in 2019. That wasn’t the only i9ncident of 2019. A bunch of tourists were filmed climbing aboard a gondola in that same year, uninvited, and taking selfies, before one of them headbutted the boatman.
Oh and in 2020, two German tourists found themselves going from very cold water to very hot water, being fined AU $1,124 for swimming in the Grand Canal.
So much for Serenissima…