European travel can be expensive. We know this. What with the flights and the tipping and the $9 coffee.
But here’s a hot savings tip if you’re headed to Venice. If you want to avoid a shock bill, maybe don’t sit down in public.
The northeastern Italian city’s council is currently considering a proposal that would see people slapped with a 500 Euro fine for parking their backsides in an undesignated spot. (Basically anywhere there isn’t already a chair or bench.)
The plan, hatched by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and due to be voted on in October, is part of a wider initiative designed to ease tourist congestion in the already-crowded canal city.
Though just 55,000 people call Venice home, more than 20 million pour in each year to see world-famous sights like the St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal.
“The aim is to create more of a deterrent to people who think they can come to the city of Venice and do what they want, not respecting the city, urban decorum, and public safety,” Mayor Brugnaro told The Independent.
The proposal would broaden existing bans on sitting in tourist hotspots of St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.
“The message we have to get through is that we’re not joking,” said Paola Mar, the councillor responsible for tourism.
“If it gets about that people who do this kind of thing are fined, as well as it being flagged to their respective embassies, perhaps we’ll be able to stop others copying.”
If passed, it would fall under the city’s #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, which places restrictions and fines on activities including: swimming in canals; being shirtless or wearing swimwear; giving/leaving/scattering food in public places; riding a bicycle in the city centre; camping, lying on benches, or standing at any time with camping equipment in any part of the City of Venice.
So come October, if you cycled, shirtless, through Venice while carrying a tent and throwing bread for pigeons, and then sat down to remove your shoes so you could swim in a canal, you’d been looking at up to 1500 Euros in fines.
You’ve been warned.