Venice isn't banning wheeled suitcases to stop noise pollution and protect its historic streets

Officials in the city popular with tourists argue that the clatter of rubber wheels on pavements keep locals awake

The historic Italian city of Venice, famed for its romantic canals and gondollas, has banned wheeled suitcases because officials claim the clattering luggage amounts to noise pollution and is keeping locals awake.

The new rule will come into place from May 2015. From then, travellers caught using regular rubber-wheeled luggage in the ancient lagoon city will be fined €500 (£395).

However, the city will allow the 27 million people who visit each year to use tyres filled with water or liquid which are silent, and will also protect the city’s streets. But Venetian officials admit they are uncertain how widely available inflatable wheels are.

City official Maurizio Dorigo said: “Hopefully a company will start producing suitcases with inflatable tyres. We've got till next May. Someone will be able to design and sell them by then.”

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Venice’s commissioner Vittorio Zappalorto introduced the rule which does not apply to Venetians, Il Gazzettino reported according to Mail Online.

Venice City Council said in a statement: “The rules respond to the needs of many residents who have complained to the authorities in recent years about serious discomfort in their homes linked to the movement of goods at times protected by legislation such as at night and in the early morning.” “There are also numerous worrying signs of deterioration and wear to paving stones and bridges previously unharmed for hundreds of years.”

But one hotel manager told BBC News last week that the ruling is impractical, and argued that the city should renovate pavements if they are too noisy, instead of making tourists change their the suitcases.

The ruling follows a measure put in place earlier this year to discourage the trend which sees couples attach padlocks to bridges as a symbol of their love. Officials claimed the city’s old structures are too fragile to withstand the weight. 

This summer, some 20,000 'love locks’ were removed from the Rialto and Accademia bridges.

Update: Commissioner of the city of Venice, Vittorio Zappalorto has confirmed that rubber-wheeled suitcases have not been banned. However, discussions are underway regarding handcarts and transpallets which are used to transport goods on the pedestrian paths, whose wheels severely erode the delicate Venetian paving and cause noise pollution.

“The solution to this problem must be clearly evaluated and shared with the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, with the economic categories and, in general, with the stakeholders… Any other interpretation on the topic is imaginative and not true.” he said.