by Nick Squires, The Telegraph, May 18, 2019
Tourists who misbehave in Venice will be hit with Asbo-style decrees banning them from the city in the latest effort to maintain decorum among the millions of visitors who descend on the World Heritage attraction.
Tourists who swim in Venice’s canals, wander around shirtless or loll on the steps of stone bridges will be fined up to €500 (£438). The new sanctions were approved by Venice city council with an overwhelming majority on Thursday, with 22 councilors voting in favour and just six against.
The authorities take a dim view of a range of inconsiderate behaviours, from lying down on public benches, eating and drinking while sitting on the ground, leaning against shop fronts and sitting on the steps of Venice’s distinctive cylindrical stone wells.
Minor infractions will be met with fines starting at €25, while more serious offences will lead to the maximum €500 penalty.
“It is forbidden to walk in public areas in swimming costumes or bare-chested,” the council said, adding that the rules also apply to tourists travelling on Venice’s “vaporetti” water buses.
The city is prohibiting “sitting down or lying down on the steps of bridges and in the doorways of historic monuments, as well as in front of shop windows.”
“Swimming and diving into canals and basins” is also banned, as is attaching padlocks to metal railings – a custom that has taken hold in Rome and Paris as well as Venice.
Tourists who behave really badly – or who are repeat offenders – could be banned from Venice altogether, with decrees similar to those that are used to keep violent football fans out of Italy’s stadiums.
The decrees are known as Daspos – an acronym for Divieto di Accedere alle Manifestazioni Sportive, or Ban on Entering Sporting Events.
Venice is working on the introduction of a tourist tax, which is expected to be implemented from September.
Tourists arriving in La Serenissima will be charged €3 (£2.60) each during the low season, €8 during high season and €10 during “critical” periods, such as summer weekends, when visitor numbers reach excessive levels.
But regardless of how many tourists swamp Venice, no one will be denied access to the city, Mr Brugnaro said earlier this year.