Italian tourists are back, but so is the damage to historical monuments

While the Italian tourism sector welcomes the return of visitors, the behavior of some holidaymakers is less welcome. As the summer season kicks off, tourists have already vandalized historic landmarks and been fined for disrespectful driving.

Italy has only recently been yearning for tourists to return amid travel restrictions and coronavirus-related lockdowns. While the current influx of visitors is a lifeline for the travel industry, frustrations are already growing over the behavior of some tourists.

Drones crash into Italian monuments

In April, there were a series 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, apparently unaware of the ban in place on 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 historical monument was not damaged, but the visitor risks criminal prosecution.

In Pisa, two Mexican tourists crashed into a medieval tower with their drone a few days earlier, fortunately without causing major damage. Another holidaymaker had to be prevented from using his drone around the city’s most famous structure, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

In Italy, a special permit is required as well as a police authorization to fly a drone in urban areas.

Scooters damage the Spanish Steps

In early June, Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps became the latest victims of illegal tourist escapades. Two American visitors were caught on security camera throwing an electric scooter up the stairs, known as Trinità de Monti.

The two tourists were arrested by a police patrol in the early morning of June 3 after throwing the scooter several times down the stairs.

The 18th century monument was damaged in the incident when the vehicle hit the travertine steps. A large piece of marble was ripped out and restoration costs are estimated at around $27,000.

The couple were fined €400 ($417) each and banned from visiting the monument for a short time.

Just under a month earlier, a Saudi tourist was arrested after driving a Maserati up the famous staircase. The man was taken into custody at Milan International Airport after he was filmed walking down the steps of a hired sports car which he later abandoned.

The incident left the landmark with multiple scratches and chips.

Picnics on the historical monuments of Venice

The northern Italian canal city of Venice has also seen the return of unwanted tourist behavior. Four German visitors chose to use a historical monument in Campo Zaccaria as a picnic spot earlier this month.

The group spread a tablecloth over the stone structure in the center of the square and arranged chairs around it 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 ($1,095).

Holidaymakers in Venice have also recently been fined for swimming in the canals, which is prohibited, and sunbathing topless on a historic monument.

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