• Italy's news in English

How bad mannered tourists are riling Venice

Josephine McKenna · 18 Aug 2015, 16:38

Published: 18 Aug 2015 16:38 GMT+02:00

More than 25 million tourists visit Venice every year and the most intense period for tourist traffic is between June and September.

“The city doesn’t have to become a museum,” Mar told The Local. “We have to find a way for the residents to live with the tourists.”

But that is becoming increasingly difficult as leading Venetians have been outraged by a spate of recent controversial incidents.

A drunken Italian couple were found asleep in a stolen gondola by police on the Grand Canal early on Friday, while three young tourists rolled out their sleeping bags and spent the night on a public bridge in the Sant’Alvise quarter at the weekend.

Arrigo Cipriani, owner of the city’s landmark Harry’s Bar told the daily, La Nuova di Venezia, that tourists should pay to pass over the Freedom Bridge, which connects Venice to the mainland, to help resolve some of the problems in the lagoon city.

"The Venetians pass for free, the others should pay something," he said in an outspoken attack.

"Everyone feels they have a right to make a mess: tourists see that the city is disgusting and so they have no problem about doing their part."

Among some of the recent incidents, a Chinese visitor was filmed taking a leisurely bath in the Grand Canal at the weekend and another tourist had a skinny dip to escape the heat last week.

Mar said the city had 700 local police and people can be fined up to €250 for throwing rubbish in the canals or €50 for taking a dip.

“There are 4.5 million tourists who come here and stay in a hotel for two or three days and are virtuous,” Mar said.

“The problem is the tourists who come here only for the day. They take the same streets as all the others and go to St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.

Story continues below…

“They think the Grand Canal is a beach and walk around with a bare torso. You would never see that in Barcelona, Paris or London. It is about bad manners.”

She said the city’s challenge is to find new strategies to encourage people to come at other times of year.

“We also have to promote the Jewish ghetto and other areas of the city like Canareggio where tourists do not go,” Mar said,

“Everyone can express their opinion. We have to consider the options, analyze and come up with some strategies. I don’t have a magic wand.” 

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Josephine McKenna (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italian spouses 'faked break-up to cash in on benefits'
File photo: foooomio/Flickr

Italy's finance police tracked the couple using hidden cameras.

Italy to remove corpses from salvaged migrant boat
Activists pray for those who died in the 2015 tragedy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The sinking left around 800 dead - but they will now get proper burials.

Lidl and Bertolli fined €550k for fake 'extra virgin' olive oil
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr

The fines for misleading branding were recently hiked in Italy's ongoing battle to protect its oils.

Two-year-old hospitalized after being raised vegan
File photo: Joe Radele/AFP/Getty Images

The toddler spent several days in intensive care where she was treated for health complications thought to be caused by her parents' vegan diet.

Italy and the Netherlands offer to share UN council seat
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the Security Council. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP

Italy's Foreign Minister said the shared term would show "unity" from two European countries.

Conte theatrics a boon for Italy, and Chelsea fans
Antonio Conte during the Italy-Spain game on Monday. Photo: Philppe Lopez/AFP

A "great" Italian feat toppled Spain at Euro 2016, but Antonio Conte's touchline theatrics were just as dramatic for Italy and Chelsea fans during an emphatic 2-0 win over the defending champions.

Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend
Italian actor, Bud Spencer, passed away on Monday. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

If you're looking to remember - or even discover - the delights of the late Bud Spencer's work, here are five films you should definitely watch.

Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
Gubbio (L) and Norcia (R). Photos: Angus Kirk/EricHuybrechts

Rome has a lot to offer, but if you're looking for variety or simply want a break away from the city, there's a treasure trove of towns within easy reach.

Euro 2016
Germany boss to banish Italy 'curse' in quarter-final clash
Germany coach Joachim Loew says Germany do not have an Italian 'curse'. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Germany have lost their last eight matches to Italy at the knockout stages of major tournaments.

Bangladesh official charged over Italian's murder
Tavella's body leaves Bangladesh. Photo: Munir Az Zaman/AFP

The Italian aid worker was shot last September.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
jobs available