Venice tourists could be hit with $585 fine for sitting down

We all know being a tourist can be expensive, but in the Italian city of Venice, even just sitting down could soon cost you dearly.

The city’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, has proposed a fine of up to €500 (about $585) for anyone planting themselves down in an undesignated spot.

The proposal isn’t without precedent in Venice. People are actually already prohibited from sitting in tourist hotspots St Mark’s Square or the Rialto Bridge.

A representative for Brugnaro told CNN Travel the text of the ban is currently under discussion by the city Council and so as yet unconfirmed.

The mayor’s proposal is part of the city’s #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign, which has been in full swing this summer. It’s all part of a general Venetian crusade against rampant overtourism.

Busy city

Visitors to Venice have been subjected to numerous other restrictions.

They’re instructed to walk on the right, not to linger on bridges and not to cycle. Walking around in swimwear is also a no-no as is feeding pigeons. Less surprising are bans on littering, graffiti and placing padlocks on monuments.

Back in May, Venice went so far as to attempt to separate tourists and locals over the busy May Day weekend. The expected large crowds prompted Brugnaro to implement what he called “urgent measures to guarantee public safety, security and liveability.”

Venice is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and its narrow, historic streets can become incredibly busy. Officials fear that a growing influx of tourists negatively impacts accommodation and living conditions for locals, as well as affecting tourist’s experience of the city.

Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has long been advocating more sustainable tourism initiatives.

The city council website has an online tool monitoring the number of expected tourists each day, advising visitors to potentially avoid busy tourist spots, The portal also suggests alternative routes.

Combatting overtourism

Venice isn’t the only Italian city implementing extreme measures. Earlier in September Florence banned street-snacking — anyone caught eating on Florence’s stradas could be fined up to €500.

In August, a selfie-based brawl at Rome’s Trevi Fountain also made the headlines, reigniting discussions about controlling the flow of tourists visiting the fountain.

Tourism issues aren’t limited to Italy’s cities. On the stunning island of Sardinia, officials have been cracking down on sand stealing and the fines are even steeper — sand thieves could be charged anywhere from €500 to €3,000.