Venice Proposes Noisy Luggage Ban for Tourists

Italy has always had some weird laws, but the latest one proposed seems over the top to me., so much so that I feel compelled to write about it today.

The city of Venice has just proposed a “noisy luggage ban,” a  ban on tourists from  bringing wheeled luggage across the more than 400  footbridges in the city. If passed, this would take effect in May of 2015 and the fine could be as high as €500. Interestingly, the law would not apply to local Venice residents. I think this law will be difficult to enforce, not to mention the fact that luggage with bicycle-style pneumatic wheels does not even exist.

Venice is a beautiful place and yes, it is inundated with tourists every single day.  According to the most recent study, 26,179 visitors per square kilometer are in Venice during peak hours.  Every day over 60,000 tourists visit historic Venice. So I understand why the local government opposes the large cruise ships in the lagoon, since they block views and upset the fragile ecosystem. Yet it is a fine balance to maintain, since tourists are vital to the economy of Venice.
These types of laws seem so ridiculous, when you realize that Italy allows and even encourages other situations that are not permitted in other places. For example, did you know beginning in May of 2015, that the Italian Army will begin to grow marijuana  in Florence for national healthcare system. The hope is to discourage medical marijuana users from buying the weed on the street.

For myself and others who plan to visit Venice, I hope this proposal  sponsored by Special Commissioner Vittorio Zappalorto does not become law, especially since I plan on returning to Venice in May of 2015, and you can be sure that I will be bringing my wheeled luggage too. I’ll be paying close attention to the news reports out of Italy on this one.
Do you have an opinion? What do you think of this? I’d love to hear your feedback and perspectives. Leave a comment.

23 Responses

  1. Michela of Rocky Travel Blog

    It does really sound wierd. On the other hand I can imagine the noise of hundreds of people rolling their suitcases at night it’s a nightmare for the locals who want to get some sleep! However banning wheeled suitacase is not the solution, I am sure they will come up with a more sensible way of solving this issue! 🙂

  2. stephanie710

    Hmm…this was really interesting. I suppose, like another commenter mentioned, they’ve had it with the tourists. Laws like these are always difficult to enforce but I guess they are trying to control the integrity of their environment. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Would your customized luggage be permitted? I still love those bags. 🙂 Great post!!

  3. Debra Kolkka

    This is a bit of a beat up. It is not going to happen. I can imagine that constant noisy wheels under your window would drive you nuts…and they are noisy. It could never be enforced, but as other have said there is an opportunity here for soft wheeled transports to be hired out.

  4. imarancher

    The story on the banning of wheels was all over NPR today. When you take a little noise and multiply it times thousands, it can get on your nerves. One bee versus an agitated beehive, very noisy. However, what is going to happen is that it will become a new source of income for clever residents who, for a fee, will pull the luggage of the tourists around.I came from Miami, Fl. Many people hated the tourists. I appreciated (most of them). The reason we did not have smoke stacks up and down the beach is that our business was people, not factories. And the place was ours during the summer months. And ours alone, we ran along the beaches and up and down the swamps, we didn’t count red or green VW’s we counted bob cats, raccoons, bears, gators and so on. Wouldn’t trade it for anything and the tourists paid for it. And if you agitate those tourists they will go someone else that appreciates that Yankee dollar (or French or Polish, etc) better.

    And they did not make it clear, are the touring boats out there seven days a week? Is there no respite from blocking the view? Seven days is a bit much. They ought to have one or two days a week when they don’t allow more than a handful of tourists about the place. Just so they can enjoy their homes themselves.

  5. Francesca

    It would be very good if Venice also banned those huge cruise ships that come down the canals, causing more Acqua Alta than a tsunami. The more laws to protect Venice the better.

  6. Paula

    It does seem so petty when you compare it with all the other problems Venice faces. Yes there are an incredible amount of tourists but they need to channel the tourist taxes into supporting the solutions of some of these problems. Most of the bags would be wheeled along the routes to the train station anyway so perhaps they could provide some type of sound absorbing tracks. Anyway it seems ludicrous when there has been so much political scandal and misappropriation of funds in the past in that beautiful city!

  7. dollygoolsby

    Geez! That law is really going to be hard to enforce. How are we supposed to get to our hotels with our luggage without going over the bridges? Perhaps they will need to put ramps over all the bridges for this purpose. Some of the bridges already have the ramps, but certainly not all. This will be interesting to follow. I will be bringing a small tour group to Venice is June. We will try to be quiet. I will follow this law closely. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  8. Anthony Capozzoli

    Seems ridiculous to me. Enforcement aside it seems they’re driving people to be forced to use the water bus or taxi, which isn’t bad on it’s surface, but not allowing visitors to tote their luggage if they choose to walk seems insane to me. If it’s disruptive to the foundation of Venice that’s one thing, but if it’s to reduce noise that is a completely different issue. How loud is a rollerbag anyway? I can’t remember one time where a traveler passing me in a cafe anywhere in Italy ruined my lunch due to a loud rollerbag.

    I’m all for a small traveling footprint, but I also think it’s important to participate in the tourism economy of a place like Venice when tourism is a HUGE component of Venice. I can see the articles now about how an old couple, after saving for 10 years for their dream trip to Venice got a 500,00 euro ticket because they were walking with their luggage to their hotel.

    I absolutely LOVE Italy, but I think there are much more important issues to tend to than rolling luggage “noise.”

    • margieinitaly

      I agree with everything you wrote, Anthony, especially about focusing on the larger issues facing Italy today. Thanks for weighing in on this.

  9. Anonymous

    Do they allow motor boats on the canal! Now that would be noise pollution,not wheeled suit cases.

  10. timelessitaly

    It appears the Venetians have had it with the impact of tourists on their city. I don’t blame them. But this one is petty, in my opinion. Ah well, if it does pass bags with silent wheels will need to be sold in the tourist shops!

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