Mind Your Manners! Italy To Fine Unruly Tourists

Italy joins the growing list of countries that have had it with badly behaved tourists and mass tourism
Tourists at Fontana di Trevi at Piazza Trevi, Rome
Tourists at Fontana di Trevi at Piazza Trevi, RomeColorMaker/Shutterstock

Italy is regarded as one of the world's top travel destinations, with millions visiting cities like Rome and Venice every year. According to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), Venice alone received 5.5 million visitors in 2019. And the figures have continued to rise.

Tourist numbers in Italy are likely to surpass 68 million by the end of the year, according to market research firm Demoskopika.

To regulate the crowds, Italy is putting in place strict procedures.


This summer, Venice is combating the negative consequences of mass tourism by placing significant restrictions on visitors. For instance, they cannot roam around the city naked or swim in the canals. Sitting and lying down is prohibited on sidewalks, bridges, and the sides of fountains and steps. Those who break the regulations will face fines.

UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural body, recently stated that Venice should be included to a list of endangered world heritage sites.

According to a UNESCO report, the Italian city is at risk of "irreversible" harm from overtourism, overdevelopment, and increasing sea levels caused by climate change.

The Beaches

Beaches in Italy are likewise being safeguarded from overtourism. According to the daily Il Messaggero, popular sites such as the Baunei on Sardinia restrict access to particular beaches. Instead of all sandy beaches being open to the public, specific areas must be reserved in advance and kept off-limits for the general public.

The east coast of Sardinia island, Orosei Gulf, in Baunei
The east coast of Sardinia island, Orosei Gulf, in BauneiValerioMei/Shutterstock

Rental Cars

Tourists in rental vehicles are swarming the streets of Italy. To address this issue, several Italian localities have prohibited tourists from bringing their own vehicles. As a result, getting around Italy's tourist sites may become more difficult, as tourists are no longer permitted to bring their own automobiles to the islands of Linosa and Lampedusa, as well as Procida in the Gulf of Naples. “This is the only measure that works. We are the most densely populated island in Europe, and for us, mobility is a problem,” said Procida mayor Raimondo Ambrosino in an interview with Il Messaggero.

Restricted Acess

Similar limitations can be expected at several popular tourist spots. For example, tourists will have restricted access to Pragser Wildsee Lake. They can only go if they reserve a ticket online ahead of time. And they must only take public transport to get there.

Portofino, one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations, has also been subject to the implementation of such measures. In April, the mayor announced a new rule that will fine tourists 275 euros for loitering in "red zones" in the fishing village. The red zones were labelled to reduce overcrowding in restricted areas where tourists pause for selfies and jostle with organised tour groups and passengers waiting to return to their cruise ships.

It is also illegal to wander around the town centre barefoot, in a bikini, or half undressed.

Tourists And Vandalism

Italy's collection of monuments have been subjected to a spate of vandalism in recent times. Two visitors were arrested this summer for defacing Rome's historic Colosseum, one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations, demonstrating how difficult it is to safeguard heritage sites in the face of overtourism. The Mona Lisa is now guarded by a barrier in the Louvre museum behind bulletproof glass.

In April, the government introduced legislation imposing fines ranging from €10,000 to €60,000 on anyone who vandalises its monuments or cultural places. They could also face criminal charges.

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