Building sandcastles on a Venice beach. Eating sandwiches on the Spanish Steps. Hanging laundry on Florence's streets. These are just some of the many actions now officially considered ‘indecorous' in Italian towns and cities as municipal police across the country are actively enforcing new local ordinances intended to clean up city streets and discourage disruptive behaviour. A wave of new regulations washed over the country at the same time Italian cities and beaches swelled with foreigners eager to enjoy la dolce vita in the bel paese. Unaware that some of the most banal actions may result in a stiff fine, tourists risk becoming lawbreakers as Italy moves to resolve a nationwide ‘security emergency'.
An article published in Britain's Independent, ‘Tourists Beware: If It's Fun, Italy Has a Law Against It', warned readers of the rules in a new ‘prohibition era' Italy. Expressing bewilderment at the seemingly arbitrary laws recently passed by many Italian mayors, author Peter Popham wondered about their efficacy: ‘Most of them will probably never be enforced, but that will be scant consolation to the pigeon-feeder whose holiday souvenirs include a large fine'.
According to Popham, tourists are particularly likely to unwittingly transgress: ‘Unwary foreigners risk getting hefty fines for doing things that are perfectly legal everywhere in the world except the particular town or city where they find themselves.'