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Tourists fined more than €4,000 for picnic in Venice

Group spread a tablecloth over a 300-year-old landmark and set out wine and glasses

Lucy Thackray
Friday 10 June 2022 10:52 BST
One of Venice’s historic wellheads
One of Venice’s historic wellheads (Getty Images)

Four German holidaymakers have been fined €4,200 (£3,570) for having a picnic on an historic landmark in Venice.

The group had bought food and set up camp in a small square near Venice’s Campo Zaccaria.

They set out chairs and spread out a tablecloth over a stone structure that turned out to be a disused wellhead dating back to the early 18th century.

Local police were informed of the set-up, and each member of the party was fined €1,050.

“They may have thought this was normal behaviour but you can’t eat off a 300-year-old wellhead in Venice, and we were quickly tipped off,” the city’s chief of police, Marco Agostini, toldThe Times.

Mr Agostini added that tourism numbers in Venice were back up to around 90,000-100,000 a day, with police reinstating a local “decorum code”.

“Visitor numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels and we still haven’t seen the Chinese and Indian tourists who spend just a few hours in the city,” he said.

“We’ve had to crack down on people flying drones, riding around St Mark’s Square on scooters and diving in canals.”

Venice’s strict tourism rules prohibit jumping into the canals, littering, wearing swimwear, graffiti, feeding pigeons, adding padlocks to bridges and cycling, as well as public picnics.

Last month a tourist was fined €400 for taking a swim in the city’s Grand Canal, while in January a tourist was kicked out of Venice and banned from re-entering for 48 hours after being caught posing topless on a war memorial.

The Czech visitor was caught by police and fined €350 for antisocial behaviour, plus given an extra €100 fine and a two-day ban on entering the city.

In 2018, Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro proposed a “sitting ban” to stop visitors pausing to sit down in certain parts of the city, with unwitting recliners to be fined between €50 and €500.

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