Venice is stepping up its campaign to try to encourage badly behaved tourists to show more respect for the city.
Twenty million people visit Venice every year and boorish visitors are a source of extreme annoyance to the residents and the city authorities.
The ‘clean-up tsar,’ Augusto Salvadori, says large posters will go up in prominent positions with the message Tenere La Città Pulita (Keep the City Clean).
There will also be reminders to tourists using the Vaporetti (water buses) to give up their seats to elderly people and pregnant women and to backpackers to remove their unwieldy loads before boarding. Foreign fare-dodgers will also be targeted.
The moves are the latest phase of a campaign started two years ago to spruce up the city’s image and clamp down on unacceptable tourist behaviour. A ban on street vendors selling grain led to a significant decrease in the estimated 20,000 pigeons in St Mark’s Square.
Now, a group of young women called City Angels aim to stop visitors dangling their feet in fountains, walking around shirtless and throwing food wrappers on to the ground. In addition, the Venice authorities want to deter people from lowering the tone by eating fast food and packed lunches in popular locations.
One city official commented: “Tourism has a huge impact on Venice – there are 60,000 inhabitants but 20 million tourists. It’s a matter of trying to get along together.”
by Andy Moreton