While the Italian tourism industry is pleased with the return of visitors, the behavior of some holidaymakers is proving less welcome. As the summer season begins, tourists have already vandalized historic monuments and been fined for disrespectful behavior.
Only recently, Italy has longed for tourists to return amid travel restrictions and lockdowns over the coronavirus. While the current influx of visitors is a lifeline for the travel industry, frustration over the behavior of some tourists is already on the rise.
Drones crash on Italian monuments
In April, there was a spate of drone-related incidents at landmarks in some of Italy’s tourist hotspots. An Argentine tourist chose to fly a drone over the city of Rome, seemingly unaware of the ban over the urban area.
After losing control of his device, he crashed the drone onto the roof of Palazzo Venezia, a 15th-century palace not far from the Roman Forum. Fortunately, the historic monument was not damaged, but the visitor risks criminal prosecution.
In Pisa, a few days earlier, two Mexican tourists hit a medieval tower with their drone, luckily without causing major damage. Another vacationer had to be restrained from using his drone around the city’s more famous landmark, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
In Italy, a special permit is required, as well as permission from the police 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 the illegal tourist escapades. Two American visitors were caught on surveillance cameras throwing an electric scooter off the stairs, known as the Trinità de Monti.
The two tourists were stopped early in the morning on June 3 by a police patrol after pushing the scooter down the stairs several times.
The 18th-century monument was damaged in the incident when the vehicle hit the travertine stairs. A large piece of marble was shaved off and the restoration cost is estimated to be about $27,000.
The couple were fined €400 ($417) each and banned from visiting the monument for a short period of time.
Just under a month earlier, a Saudi tourist was arrested after driving a Maserati down the famous staircase. The man was taken into custody at Milan International Airport after being caught on camera descending the stairs in a rented sports car which he then abandoned.
The incident left the landmark with multiple scratches and chips.
Picnic at the historic monuments of Venice
The canal city of Venice in northern Italy has also seen the return of unwanted tourist behavior. Earlier this month, four German visitors chose a historic monument in Campo Zaccaria as a picnic spot.
The party spread a tablecloth over the stone structure in the center of the square and set out chairs to enjoy their lunch. However, their picnic area turned out to be an 18th-century well.
Local police were quickly alerted and fined each member of the group €1,050 ($1095).
Holidaymakers in Venice have also recently been fined for swimming in the canals, which is banned, and sunbathing topless on a historic landmark.