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What do you think of this new policy in Venice?

I think it's a reasonable idea. Who wants the classic and beautiful ambiance of Venice ruined by thoughtless hordes of tourists?

quoted from

While in Venice, Keep Your Shirt On

Venice is one of Europe's most popular vacation destinations and the place in Venice where everyone congregates is St. Mark's Square, called the drawing room of Europe by Napoleon.

St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is ringed by the magnificent Basilica San Marco, the Doge's Palace, and several posh cafes including the famous Caffe Florian, popular since 1720. But Piazza San Marco is also home to hoards of pigeons, tourists in all manner of dress lying or sitting around the square, and lately lots of trash from take-away eateries.

In order to return the ambiance of Piazza San Marco to what it was in earlier days, visitors to the square will be asked to refrain from eating in the square (except in the cafes), lying down, camping out, or walking around the city shirtless. According to Yahoo News, while there won't be fines for these infractions, there will be nicely dressed stewards to explain these rules to those who break them.

Posted by
2002 posts

I totally and 100% agree with this policy! I think it is approprate to establish a bit of decorum and standards of behavior in historic places, and not treat it like Disneyland. This is one of my pet peeves. It's not just Americans who do this, but let start with us. Rick mentions blending in to the European scene a bit in his guidebooks, perhaps it might be a good time to expand this topic. We can all do better to preserve the historic feel of these great places and not make them carnivals.

Posted by
334 posts

Venice is definitely not made for picnicing, but on the other hand, having nowhere to sit on that hot square made life very uncomfortable. We couldn't afford to eat every meal in a cafe and much enjoyed "walkaway" meals next to a canal - but that wasn't an option at all at St. Mark's. I understand not having people camping out or walking around shirtless and especially leaving trash, but I think it can be taken too far.

Posted by
3580 posts

I am more offended by the thousands of pigeons and the people feeding them than I am by the hordes of tourists in Piazza San Marco. The "no picnicking" signs have been there for a few years. And there are notices not to stop on the bridges. Lots of people do both and I've never seen either rule enforced. I think the thousands of day-trippers, especially from the cruise ships, are the largest contributors to the crowding situation. The idea that it is ok to go around almost naked is fairly new and I think that the chief practitioners are young and oblivious to what some of us would consider "proper." I stay away from Pz San Marco from 10 am to 4 pm and enjoy other less crowded parts of the city.

Posted by
28 posts

I could care less about what people wear or don't wear but I do think people should be more careful in beautiful historic areas. Perhaps the authorities can create designated picnicing areas for those who cannot always afford to eat at the overpriced restaurants.

Posted by
93 posts

I strongly agree!!! We're from the Orlando area and "enjoy" the hords of tourists that feel while on vacation they do not need to tidy or cleanup after themselves...but the locals also act that way much of the time....I think this is a wonderful policy...and would go a step further and make feeding the pigeons, anywhere, illegal.....they cause more damage than any tourist ever could...almost.

Posted by
705 posts

I was in Venice in March and noticed that there was a group of young girls who were sitting in a group just outside a shop in the walkway that surrounds the square. Two police men patrolling the area went up to them and moved them on. Piazza San Marco is always crowded and will always be due to the Basilica and palace. Other than that incident I didn't notice any unacceptable behaviour. I thought the pidgeons were far more annoying and considering the damage they do I am really surprised the authorities encourage feeding of them.

Posted by
1127 posts

I think this ruling is great. There is no reason for people to walk around shirtless. It is actually cooler to have a top on - the shirt will absorb sweat and keep the sun from directly hitting your skin. Loitering is never looked upon fondly.

Posted by
689 posts

YA HOO!!!! My husband and I spent a wonderful 3 hours on a hot August afternoon, relaxing at one of the outdoor cafes on our last trip (2004)We totally enjoyed every bit of it. 3 hours cost us about E50 which included the seating fee, two grande beers for me and two grande wines for him. We also received a couple of trays of miscellaneous nibbles and wonderful entertainment with the afternoon orchestra. Well worth every single euro.
We did not notice trash but commented on the shirtless men (yes and one woman). While that did not detract from the overall experience it was disappointing to see that in front of St. Marks.