Two Australian tourists were fined 1,500 euros each for surfing the Grand Canal in Italy’s historic city of Venice, famous for its water canals. Tourists were also expelled from the city after the procedures.
The incident occurred as a result of the fact that the two tourists in question were seen doing motor air surfing on historical channels despite the ban, and these images were spread on social media.
Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, in a statement on Twitter, called the tourists in question “two arrogant and stupid people mocking the city” and demanded the public’s help to catch these people. Brugnaro added that he will order dinner as a reward for those who identify these people and report them to the authorities.
In the images in question, it was recorded that Australian surfers zig zag past the gondolas and motors and pose a danger on the canal.
Each of the Australian tourists found as a result of the work of the Italian police was fined 1,500 euros, while the Venice Coast Guard seized two motor surfboards with a value of 25 thousand dollars. After the final procedures, Australian tourists were deported from the city of Venice.
On social media, especially Venetian and Italian users expressed that they found the incident “shameful”. Some people supported the two surfer tourists on the grounds that traveling the canals in this way requires less fuel costs.
Visited by at least 20 million tourists every year, Venice is the third most visited city by holidaymakers in Italy after Rome and Milan.
Since the urban fabric has been damaged due to tourism in Venice in recent years, there are many bans for tourists in the city. For example, sports such as surfing, canoeing, skiing or paddle surfing are strictly prohibited on the canals. In addition, sitting on the stairs of statues and great monuments, eating food and swimming in water channels can result in large fines.
In 2019, the Municipality of Venice fined two German passengers who were making coffee on the 430-year-old Rialto Bridge, one of the most famous structures in the city, with a $1,000 fine.
Due to the rising costs of cleaning and renovating the city, Venice City Council plans to withhold visitor tax from 2023, even from day-trippers.