People, Travel

Preserving Venetian Serenity

Preserving Venetian SerenityPreserving Venetian Serenity

Officials in the Italian city of Venice are denying a reported ban on wheeled luggage, saying they won’t impose a large fine on tourists using them, CNN reported.

Last week they were widely quoted as saying they hoped future draft laws in May 2015 would curb damage and disturbance from noisy bags.

The prospect of fines of up to €500 ($620) generated uproar and concerns about how many of the 22 million tourists who annually visit Venice would cart their luggage into a destination with restricted access to vehicles.

Now the city’s special commissioner, Vittorio Zappalorto, has issued a statement insisting proposed new noise regulations will only be directed at trolleys used by traders and are not intended as an outright prohibition.

“I firmly deny that the municipality of Venice has ever thought to ban the use of trolleys in the historical center,” he said.

The new regulations, he insisted, will apply solely to “handcarts and transpallets transporting goods on the pedestrian paths,” which he said cause severe erosion to Venice’s historic paving.

“This is particularly annoying when it happens in the early hours of the day, when many people are still sleeping.”

He added: “This doesn’t mean, however, that the municipality will ban their use starting from May. The draft seeks only to regulate.”

Despite the denial, Zappalorto said he hoped the furore surrounding reports of restrictions on wheeled luggage would prompt the tourism industry to address the issue of noisy bags.

He echoed earlier comments, reported by the local Il Messaggero newspaper, in which he was quoted saying a ban would hopefully inspire luggage manufacturers to introduce softer, air-filled tires.

“This will undoubtedly be a deserving action that will contribute to the preservation of our architectural heritage and to the serenity of residents and tourists themselves,” he said.