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Venice mulls 'sitting ban' to regulate tourist behavior

Staff Writer |
Visitors to the Italian city of Venice who sit down in undesignated parts of the city may face a fine of up to 500 euros (588 U.S. dollars), according to a proposal by the city's mayor to curb undesirable tourist behavior.

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The ban, brought up by Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, is set to be voted on by the city council in October. Once approved, tourists could be fined 50-500 euros (59-588 dollars) for sitting where they are not allowed to, such as in squares and on church steps.

"The aim is to create more of a deterrent to people who think they can come to the city of Venice and do what they want, not respecting the city, urban decorum and public safety," Mayor Brugnaro was quoted by Sky News as saying.

In certain parts of Venice, such as St Mark's Square and Rialto Bridge, sitting has already been prohibited. Other restrictions of the city that have been in place include no lingering on bridges, no cycling, no feeding pigeons, and no placing padlocks on bridges.

A city that receives some 60,000 tourists a day, Venice has been struggling with the impact of an overwhelmingly large tourist population. In 2017, the city launched the awareness campaign #EnjoyRespectVenezia to direct visitors toward the adoption of responsible and respectful behavior.

The no-sitting proposal, raised against the backdrop of the campaign, has evoked opposition. "It's not a problem of respect if a young person doesn't have much money and eats a sandwich on the steps. To respect Venice you should put a limit on the apartments and the flats that you can put on the tourist market." Tommaso Cacciari, a campaigner, said, according to The Telegraph.

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