Travellers warned about Italy’s bird-brained laws

Foreigners in Italy beware: playing bingo, snacking while sitting on the steps of a monument and feeding pigeons at Venice's St Mark's Square may seem innocent enough, but they carry hefty fines if caught.

Travellers warned about Italy's bird-brained laws
By all means, take photos, but do not feed the pigeons at St Mark's Square in Venice. Photo: xiquinhosilva/Flickr.

The UK’s foreign office also warns that you could end up arrested or detained abroad if you bend the rules, which includes buying counterfeit goods from street sellers and failing to validate your ticket before boarding a train, bus or tram.

Simply feeding the birds in the famous St Mark’s Square carries fines of up to €580.

Local authorities also do not take kindly to visitors eating snacks while taking a rest on the steps of historic monuments and buildings.

Charles Hay, the director of consular services for the UK foreign office, said travellers often forget that local laws apply to them, with many British people thinking their passports are a “get out of jail free card.”

The Embassy also warns you could be in for a nasty surprise on your return home if you risk driving in a ZTL, or limited traffic zone, in any Italian town or city, as a steep fine will be sent to your address some time after the offence. 

“While consular staff will always try to assist British nationals who find themselves in difficulty abroad, we can’t interfere in another country’s legal processes,” added Hay.

“We want Brits to have a great time when they travel abroad, so it is also a good idea to research the country they are visiting before they travel.”

Country specific laws and customs can be found at 

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