Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tourist's Etiquette for Italy

The sea is not a dust bin. Do not drop cigarette butts and ice-cream wrappers in the sand.

In 2007, Ansa News reported that an Italian consumer group had launched an Italian drive for beach etiquette.  The campaign hoped to stop boorish behaviour on the nation's beaches spoiling summer vacations. "Many people behave on the beach as if the whole shoreline belonged to them and other people did not exist," Codacons said in a statement. "In this way they ruin the holidays of the people sitting under the beach umbrellas near them". 
The consumer association released a 10-point etiquette code that it hoped would reduce the number of complaints it received each year from disappointed holiday-makers. Codacons admitted that the rules in the code were common sense, but said they had to be spelled out because "no one respects them". 
Topping the list of beach irritants were mobile-phone ringtones, which were guilty of waking sunbathers from their afternoon naps. Codacons suggested people put their phones on vibrate mode or leave them at home all together if they were taking to the sands. 
Another big problem, Codacons said, are screaming parents. It said many mums and dads couldn't be bothered to move to tell their children to stop fighting, come back for lunch, put on sun-cream etc... so they shout at them from the comfort of their sun beds instead. In doing so they were making a major contribution to beach noise pollution. 
"If you want to scold your children or tell them to get out of the sea, get up and walk, don't shout from a distance," the code read. 
People were also invited not to get into loud discussions while haggling with beach vendors. 
Children were targeted too.  The code told youngsters it was all right to build sandcastles, but not to "take up half of the beach forcing other bathers to do somersaults" to avoid their creations. 
It read that soccer, Frisbee and beach games should be limited to areas away from other holiday-makers because "people are not happy to be hit by balls in the head or the stomach".     
The code pointed out that the "sea is not a dust bin" and instructed people not to drop cigarette butts and ice-cream wrappers in the sand. 
It also read that people should not use shampoo when having a shower on the beach as this pollutes marine waters. 
The other rules in the code were: 

  • Do not invade other people's beach space. 
  • Do not splash other bathers when diving into the water. 
  • Move slowly, carefully and quietly when approaching the shore in a speedboat or jet-ski. 
  • Keep dogs on a lead and restrict them to beaches they are allowed on.     
The code was to be put on display at beach establishments and bars all over Italy that summer.
In April of 2013, Venice launched a campaign called 'Venice Yours Too, Respect It', which consists of 10 guidelines for tourists to respect the city printed in seven languages: Italian, English, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian and German.The campaign was also using a mascot, a cartoon winged lion, the symbol of the city.

By May of 2013, the 'manners police' or 'decorum monitors' were out to keep Venice's tourists in line, with 'manners police squads' to crack down on feeding pigeons, swimsuits in St Mark's Square.  It was one of a number of other etiquette initiatives instituted in Italy over the past several years. 
The 'decorum monitors' were deployed in Venice's St Mark's Square to keep summer tourists in line with local customs and manners. Known as the San Marco Guardians, the civilian etiquette squad is marked by its orange uniforms and works alongside police asking visitors not to feed pigeons, not to wear swimsuits away from the beach, and to avoid sitting on the ground in front of busy landmarks. 
The effort was sponsored by Costa Crociere, a major Italian cruise company responsible for bringing on large numbers of tourists to the lagoon city who often outnumber Venetians on peak days. The cruise industry has been under fire since the Costa Concordia crashed off the coast of Tuscany, killing 32 people. Many locals in Venice fear that cruise ships pose a risk to to both the lagoon ecosystem, the surrounding architecture and citizens, and that the influx of tourists aboard those ships are threatening local customs and decorum.  
By some estimates Venice attracts 20 million tourists each year, making the day average in summer up to 90,000, dwarfing the dwindling local population of under 60,000.