The Cost of Being a Badly Behaved Tourist in Italy
Badly behaved tourists in Italy are being fined hefty fees for doing things they would probably never think of doing at home. Raucous football fans in the streets, skinny dippers in historical fountains, and daredevils jumping off bridges are only a few of the stories reported in both national and international newspapers. Local authorities are cracking down on bad behavior and tourists are paying a price.
Image above: CCTV cameras recorded these badly behaved tourists in Rome, August 20, 2018
Good manners, anyone?
Civil obedience and social etiquette go out the window for some people when they travel. In a foreign country being anonymous and unknown is somewhat liberating. Out of their element and routine, people do things they wouldn’t normally do. The quest for Instagramable photos is obliterating our good manners and respect for cultural heritage. It’s as if some tourists have forgotten their role as ‘guests’.
We are all familiar with Fellini’s La Dolce Vita scene with Anita Ekberg, but don’t try to replicate it!
Fountains and statues in Italy are of great historical and artistic value. Italy’s classical, romantic scenery creates a fairytale-like atmosphere where it all seems unreal. Some visitors go a bit wild trying to replicate movie scenes and fantasies.
Consequently, residents are protesting in the streets, asking local governments to limit the number of visitors. In some towns and cities, local authorities have started to issue citations and fines to badly behaved tourists, making them pay on the spot and in some cases, even banish them.
The following are real incidents of fines issued to badly behaved tourists. If they seem outlandish, see the source link where the story was first reported.
Fountains & Statues
- The parents of a 12-year-old Spanish boy were fined €450 because he bathed and played in the Piazza Navona fountain in Rome. [source]
- At the Altare della Patria Vittoriano fountain in Rome, two “English speaking” men (later identified as British and Spanish, above photo) were caught on camera jumping, splashing and mooning passers-by. They have not been caught yet, but risk fines of up to €10,000 for disgracing the military memorial of fallen soldiers. [source]
- An American couple in their 50’s trying to get the perfect video of themselves falling back into the Trevi fountain in Rome were fined €900 each. [source]
- A 25-year-old British tourist was fined €160 for climbing on the Jan Fabre turtle sculpture in Florence [source]
Bridges, Balconies & Bathing
- A 26-year-old Latvian tourist was fined €450 for swimming in the Gran Canal of Venice, near the Rialto Bridge, plus €120 for public drunkenness. [source]
- A €450 fine for an Australian named Rene for jumping off the Rialto Bridge in Venice (they found him from his pre-jump selfie on Instagram).
- In 2016 a sailor from New Zealand jumped from the Rialto bridge and landed in front of a taxi boat, costing him his life; he died from his injuries several months later. [source]
- A €200 fine for two 20-year-old British girls for sunbathing in a bikini in the park at the Papadopoli Gardens in Venice
- A €350 for a twenty-something Dutch tourist bathing topless on the steps of Fondamenta dei Tolentini. She was fully equipped with her bike, a camping stove and a pot. [source]
- The island of Ischia has new public decorum laws. Fines of up to €500 for hanging laundry out of the window or balcony and fines from €25 to €500 for walking barefoot or wearing bathing suits in public. [source]
- A slapping fight broke out between a 19-year-old Dutch girl and a 44-year-old Italian-American woman in front of the Trevi fountain in Rome; they both wanted the best selfie position. Police had to break up the brawl that involved eight family members. [source]
- Selfie sticks have been banned in the Darsena canal district of Milan. No fines have been issued, but selfie-sticks will be confiscated. Selfie sticks are also banned at the Rome Colosseum. [source]
- An Italian tourist on the beach of Sottomarina, Rovigo was fined an unknown amount for purchasing a selfie stick from an unauthorized street merchant. Purchasing anything from unauthorized street vendors may result in a fine. [source]
- Both Italian and German tourists have been fined up to €619 for driving on the beach in Villasimius, Sardinia. [source]
- A €1,000 fine for a British tourists ‘smuggling’ bottles of sand from a Sardinian beach. [source]
- Throughout Italy beaches, fines of up to €300 are already being issued and targeted at smokers who leave their cigarette butts behind. [read more]
- In an attempt to protect the endangered shoreline, many beaches in Sardinia have banned the use of towels. Wet towels collect sand and tourists literally walk away with it. Towels are distributed and collected at beach entrances or you may use straw mats.[source]
- A 51 year old Hungarian tourist was fined €400 for public urination in the courtyard of a Florence Museum. [source]
- A 27 year old French citizen, was fined €3,333 for public urination and public indecency. He opened his fly along road in the the seaside town of Poetto di Cagliari, just 50 meters from a public restroom. [source]
- Two Italian tourists ages 20 and 23 at the seaside of Monterosso, were fined €3,333 each for urinating off the fishing dock in the dark of night. [source]
Driving & Parking
- Milanese authorities have found that most foreign traffic tickets remain unpaid. It is reported that Greek, Portuguese and Spanish tourists are more likely to neglect to pay these fines. Whereas tourists from Sweden, Germany, and Denmark often pay up. Many communities are now making nonresidents pay immediately. [source]
- On Isola d’Elba they are reportedly cracking down, sanctioning fines of €25 for expired parking meters. [source]
As you can see, we cannot point the finger at any particular nationality or age group, the phenomenon of bad tourist behavior seems to be widespread.