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Venice renews crackdown on bad behaviour as tourists return

Venice has missed tourists – but not their bad habits. In an echo of the pre-pandemic era, authorities have been cracking down on uncouth behaviour as visitors flock back to the lagoon city. A French tourist was fined €150 (£128) after paddling along the Grand Canal on his standup paddleboard and two German women had to each pay €250 for sunbathing in bikinis by San Stae church.

Venice’s local police unit said the return of tourists had coincided with “signs of urban degradation”. They also reprimanded two tourists from the Czech Republic – one for speeding through Campiello Selvatico on a bike and the other for whizzing past Palazzo Cavalli on an electric scooter. Each received fines of €100.

In another instance, three people from Bangladesh were each fined €50 for pushing a luggage cart over Constitution Bridge. “These are just a few of the cases reactivated by the start of summer,” police said.

Officers have also been clamping down on illegal trading, especially in the area of the train station, the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. Over the past week, they have confiscated items including bracelets, selfie sticks, luminous darts and roses.

Venice’s so-called “angels of decorum” returned to patrol the city’s streets and main tourist areas this month. The stewards were introduced in 2017 as part of a plan to “restore dignity” to the city, which at that time was hosting an estimated 28 million people a year.

The group is charged with keeping watch for infractions such as tourists parading around bare-chested or in bathing suits, feeding pigeons, dropping litter or picnicking on the steps of the portico surrounding St Mark’s Square.

Crucial to Venice’s economy, tourist numbers have been rising again since Italy lifted coronavirus travel restrictions in mid-May.

 

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