Sitting on the ground in Venice could become illegal if the latest proposal meant to curb the effects of overtourism is approved by the city council in October.
People in Venice are already banned from sitting in the most touristy areas, such as St. Mark's Square, the steps of the Rialto Bridge, and under the arcades of the Ducal Palace.
It is one of the rules that is part of the #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, introduced by the council in 2017, in an attempt to control disrespectful behavior in a city that is visited by roughly 60,000 people every day.
The initiative also prohibits public picnics, jumping into the canals, dropping litter, wearing inappropriate clothing such as swimwear, feeding the pigeons, riding bicycles, placing padlocks on bridges or monuments, buying fake goods from illegal street vendors.
To enforce the campaign, the city council has hired so-called ‘decorum angels,’ tasked with patrolling Venice’s most popular sights.
Earlier this summer, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro approved a law forbidding any new takeout spots from opening in the city for the next three years, in an attempt to limit the amount of eating on the street, a problem shared by Florence, which has recently banned tourists from picnicking on the sidewalk and on shop doorsteps at mealtimes.
Venice's city council will vote on the sitting ban proposal next month. If approved, tourists who don’t comply or refuse to stand could be fined between €50 and €500.
What you can’t do in Venice, as part of the #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign (source: Venice city council’s website, https://www.comune.venezia.it/en/content/comportamenti-vietati):
- Sitting in St. Mark's Square and in Piazzetta dei Leoncini, beneath the arcades and on the steps of the Procuratie Nuove, the Napoleonic Wing, the Sansovino Library, beneath the arcades of the Ducal Palace, in the entranceway to St. Mark's Square, known as Piazzetta San Marco, and its jetty. Fine €200.
- “No standing at any time – even to consume food and drink, with the exclusion of restaurants, cafés, and refreshment areas.” Fine €200.
- Swimming, diving or bathing in the canals, whether public or private, in St. Mark’s basin, and any water spot near inhabited municipal areas. Fine €450.
- Walking topless or in swimsuits. Fine €200.
- Littering. Fine €200.
- Feeding pigeons and seagulls and dropping food in the streets or canals. Fine €50-200.
- Riding a bicycle in the city center (residents and children up to eight years old are exempt). Fine €100.
- Camping or lying down on benches. Fine €50.