Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Buyer Beware

Venice's campaign against people who don't "respect" the ancient city has begun. Buongiorno Venezia, a publication of Venice Word International, reports that recently eight people were fined for going topless in St. Mark's Square (no word on the sex of the topless offenders....), 106 boats were fined for speeding, and a French tourist was fined for buying a bag from one of those vendors who seem to be everywhere.

In a related development, Project "Bad Bag" says the counterfeit bags are not only an economic problem, but also a problem of image, decorum, and order. Project "Bad Bag" is posting notices around town warning that anyone who purchases a counterfeit bag is just as liable as the sellers. If you get caught buying a "bad bag," you can be fined anywhere from 3,300 to 10,000 euros.

James Martin, travel writer for say, "Italy has a long history of 'shared responsibility' for certain legal infractions. Although seldom enforced, a restaurant must give you a receipt for your meal, a ricevuta fiscale with certain items, like cover and bread charges, itemized. You must carry it out of the restaurant for a short distance. If a policeman sees you and you can't produce that receipt, you're as guilty as the restaurant."

"The hospitality of Venice," the councillor for Tourism and Decorum Augusto Salvador said, "cannot be confused with the permissiveness. We will continue in our struggle against people who don't respect the dignity of our town."

So when you go to Venice, keep your shirt on and don't buy those bags!

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