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Handy tips for avoiding fines

Published: 19/08/2019 By The Abode Team

Any tourist visiting the main Italian cities should be aware that there are things that you just don't do whilst holidaying there. Swimming in fountains, walking around bare chested and having a picnic on an historic monument are not just frowned upon but are likely to land you with a fine or a temporary ban from the area, and you would think that stealing a bit of the Colosseum was an obvious no-no. But, as Italian tourist areas struggle with overcrowding in the height of the holiday season, it seems that visitors are frequently falling foul of rules which were brought in years ago and are being enforced, or were just never abolished.  

So, here’s a list which should keep you out of trouble;

Carry your wheelie suitcase – ever heard the sound of a dozen suitcases being rolled down a cobbled Roman street or dragged up a set of steps? At three in the morning? If you have then you may understand why they have been banned in the centre of both the capital and Venice.

Think about your footwear – Local authorities in some seaside destinations have begged visitors to stop wearing flip-flops on hiking trails as they are tired of having to get the emergency services to rescue stranded tourists. People are now being fined when caught endangering themselves with a poor choice of footwear.

Don’t eat on the street or in the wrong place – One rarely sees an Italian eating on the street and drinking a take-out coffee from a sippy-cup is just not done. Taking the time to sit down and eat and drink properly is of huge importance and snacking in the streets in Florence is actually banned due to the Florentines’ dislike of seeing tourists munching slices of pizza as they walk around the streets. Eating on or near Rome’s historic fountains can land you in trouble under recently passed laws and anyone caught having a picnic in the streets of Venice can expect a fine.

Don’t fire-up your camping stove near a world famous monument– Two back-packers were fined a whopping €900 for brewing their morning coffee at the foot of the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Or steal sand – Sardinia has cracked down on sand theft. Yes, who would have thought it but some people take sand home from beaches as souvenirs. Anyone found smuggling sand in their suitcases can be fined up to €3,000.

Don't swim in a Venetian canal or cool off in a Roman fountain – This year there have been about a dozen reports of tourists in Rome taking a refreshing and expensive dip.

Use drinking fountains correctly – Putting your mouth to the tap and/or washing your feet under them can incur the wrath of the locals and land you with a fine.

Don't lounge on the Spanish steps in Rome – Sitting on the Spanish steps was, until recently, a very typical thing to do of a summer evening but, after a 1.5 million euro restoration bill, it’s now prohibited to sit on the historic steps. Thank goodness! Now you can actually walk down them obstacle free; wearing appropriate footwear of course.

Or ride a bike in Venice – riding or even walking with a bike is banned in Venice but in all honesty why would you do that anyway?

Always dress appropriately – Venice has banned swimwear and sunbathing in the centre and walking around with your shirt off in Venice or Rome will get you into trouble. Also, remember the flip flops!

Don’t feed the pigeons – We all know that and take no notice at all.

Unlock love-locks – The idea of writing your initials along with those of a loved one on a padlock and fixing it to a bridge sounds romantic, but many European cities have cracked down on this trendy habit.

Don’t wear wooden clogs in Capri – They were banned in the 60’s apparently!

So to re-cap; don’t eat pizza/ride a bike/roll your suitcase behind you whilst lounging on or ascending/descending the Spanish steps especially if wearing flip flops or clogs, keep your feet clean and your chest covered, don’t brew your own coffee adjacent to an historic monument or steal Sicilian sand, don’t wear your swimsuit whilst taking a dip in the Trevi fountain or the grand canal and don’t, whatever you do, feed those pesky pigeons. Basically, if Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t have done it then neither should you! Though I do suspect that Audrey would have fed the pigeons!