8 Venice Italy Rules for Tourists: Respect the Floating City

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Venice is suffering from the effects of mass tourism, which is making life for the locals a living misery. When the city gets too crowded, things can end up going badly for them and their beloved city.

This is why the city officials have set up some etiquette rules for tourists. This means that certain things can’t be done in Venice. Some of them seem silly or just there to have a reason to fine tourists to make money for the city council, but there is a reason for them. 

They help stop the city from getting spoiled and keep it a nice place for everyone. 

In this article, we will go over several of these rules so you can get the most out of your stay in La Serenissima as a tourist.

no picnics in venice

1 – No picnics in public places

Eating in Venice can be very expensive. Although there are many places off the beaten path where you can eat on a budget, people are still looking for ways to save even more money.

Having a picnic in Venice is the logical choice. 

However, you can’t have a picnic in public spaces in Venice. 

Don’t even think about eating a sandwich in St. Mark’s Square, for instance. This will land you a hefty fine of over 100 euros. You might just get a warning, but it is not worth the risk.

This goes for the steps of bridges, public squares, or even on the ground in the shade of a church.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have a picnic. Instead of sitting where you’re going to get fined, head to one of the many parks in Venice and have your picnic there. 

You can pick up your ingredients for sandwiches and snacks, complete with a bottle of wine or Spritz from a supermarket, and sit in the shade of a tree in the park. 

you can't feed the pigeons in venice

2 – Feeding the pigeons

When you visit Venice, feeding the pigeons is a no-no

The city loves its birds, but when pigeons get too much people food, it can be bad for them and the city. The food can make too many come, and that can lead to a big mess and damage to those pretty old buildings. 

So, remember, enjoy watching them, but keep your snacks to yourself. 

no swimming in the canals in venice

3 – No swimming in the canals

Not long ago, two German tourists made news by swimming in the canals and getting a huge fine from police and a heap of trouble.

It should seem obvious that it is illegal to swim in the Grand Canal or even the smaller canals, but apparently some travelers need it spelled out for them. 

These waterways are like roads for boats, not places to take a dip. Swimming is off-limits to keep you safe and to keep the canals clean. The city wants to make sure that the water stays clear for boats and the environment. 

Enjoy a walk or the view from a gondola or take a kayak tour to get close to the canals, but save your swimming for the beach.

There are many beaches near Venice where you can go for a swim. Head to the Lido or one of the many other beaches in the area. 

no bathing suits in venice

4 – Venice dress code

When you’re exploring Venice, it’s important to dress right. Walking around bare chested or just in a bathing suit is not okay in the city center. 

Venice has a lot of history, and dressing properly shows respect for the city and the people who live there. 

So, keep your swimwear for the beach, and when you’re in town, wear something that covers you up more. This way, you’ll fit in with the local scene and show respect for this beautiful place. Not to mention you risk a 250 euro fine.

You also need to keep in mind that there is a dress code for entering the churches, including St Mark’s Basilica, which means women need to keep their shoulders covered and no short shorts for men or women. 

no sleeping on benches in venice

5 – No sleeping on benches

In Venice, benches are for sitting upright, not for lying down. These public seats are there for everyone to share, so when you stretch out, others can’t sit down. 

The city has this rule to keep things fair and tidy. So when you need a break from walking, just sit down, enjoy the view, and leave space for someone else who might need to rest their feet too.

It’s understandable to get exhausted especially if you are only in Venice for one day and are trying to see everything. Do yourself a favor and get a hotel for the night. This way you can keep the pace leisurely and enjoy the city the way it’s meant to be seen.


6 – No sitting in St Mark’s Square

St. Mark’s Square is home to some of Venice’s most treasured sites, and the steps there are meant to be admired, not used as seats. Sitting on the steps can crowd the space and wear down the historic stone. 

To keep this area beautiful and accessible, the city asks that you enjoy the steps and monuments with your eyes and use the many benches around the square when you need to sit. This helps preserve the square for future visitors and honors the history of Venice.

If you need to sit down in the local coffee shops there, it will cost you. But, when you sit in and visit the historic Caffè Florian, you are experiencing some time in the first coffee shop in Venice where none other than Casanova used to drink his morning cup of Joe. That’s worth the price tag alone.

no love locks in venice

7 – No Love Locks

Love locks, those small padlocks that couples attach to bridges to symbolize their affection, have become a common sight in cities around the world. In Venice, however, attaching these locks to bridges is forbidden. The tradition might seem like a beautiful way to leave a mark of a romantic journey, but it can have harmful effects on the aging structures of the city.

Venice’s bridges are part of its historical architecture, many of them centuries old and not built to bear the extra weight of countless metal locks. Over time, these locks can cause wear and tear, damaging the delicate stonework and railings. In a city where preservation is paramount to tourism, safeguarding these iconic structures is a priority.

8 – No bicycles in the city center

The historic center is a place of narrow streets, many bridges, and crowded squares. A bicycle can block the way and make it hard for people to move around, especially during the busy tourist seasons.

The city has made it clear: keep your bikes out of the old town to help protect the environment and keep the foot traffic flowing smoothly. There are places to park bikes on the outskirts, so you can still enjoy a ride around the less crowded parts of Venice such as the Lido.

Wrapping It Up

When you come to Venice, remember it’s a special place that we need to take care of. The rules might seem like a lot, but they’re there to keep Venice beautiful for everyone. When we follow them, we help make sure that Venice stays just as amazing for the next people who visit. So, let’s follow the rules, enjoy our trip, and leave Venice just as lovely as we found it.

Sal Presti

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