Italy’s Tourists Are Back, But So Is The Damage To Historic Monuments
While Italy’s tourism sector is rejoicing in the return of visitors, the behavior of some vacationers is proving less welcome. As the summer season kicks off, tourists have already vandalized historic monuments and received fines for disrespectful conduct.
Only recently, Italy longed for tourists to come back amid coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdowns. While the current influx of visitors is a lifeline for the travel sector, frustrations are already growing at some tourists’ behavior.
Drones crash into Italian landmarks
In April, there was a spate of drone-related incidents at landmarks in some of Italy’s tourist hotspots. An Argentinian tourist chose to fly a drone over the city of Rome, seemingly unaware of the ban in place over the urban area.
After losing control of his device, he crashed the drone into the roof of Palazzo Venezia, a 15th-century palace not far from the Roman Forum. Luckily, the historic monument was not damaged, but the visitor risks criminal prosecution.
In Pisa, two Mexican tourists hit a medieval tower with their drone just days earlier, thankfully without causing major damage. Another vacationer had to be stopped from using his drone around the city’s more famous structure, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
In Italy, a special permit is required as well as police authorization to fly a drone in an urban area.
Scooters damage the Spanish Steps
In early June, Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps became the latest victims of tourists’ illegal escapades. Two American visitors were caught on security camera throwing an electric scooter down the staircase, known as the Trinità de Monti.
The two tourists were stopped by a police patrol early in the morning on June 3 after having launched the scooter down the steps several times.
The 18th-century monument was damaged during the incident as the vehicle hit the travertine steps. A large piece of marble was sheered off and restoration costs are estimated to be around $27,000.
The pair were fined €400 ($417) each and were banned from visiting the landmark for a short period.
Just under a month earlier, a Saudi tourist was arrested after driving a Maserati down the famed staircase. The man was taken into custody at Milan’s international airport after he was captured on camera descending the steps in a rented sports car which he then abandoned.
The incident left the landmark with multiple scratches and chips.
Picnics on Venice’s historic monuments
The canal city of Venice in northern Italy has also seen the return of unwanted tourist behavior. Four German visitors chose to use a historic monument in Campo Zaccaria as their picnic spot earlier this month.
The party spread a tablecloth over the stone structure in the center of the square and set out chairs around to enjoy their lunch. However, their picnic spot turned out to be an 18th-century wellhead.
Local police were quickly alerted and fined each member of the group €1,050 ($1095).
Vacationers in Venice have also recently received fines for swimming in the canals, which is prohibited, and sunbathing topless on a historic landmark.