Tourist in Venice ‘kidnaps’ currency exchange worker

A visitor to Venice has been charged with kidnapping after allegedly holding a bureau de change worker hostage.

Tourist in Venice 'kidnaps' currency exchange worker
Central Venice. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Caribineri in Venice arrested and charged the man, a 46-year-old thought to be from Israel, after he reportedly shut the currency exchange employee in her office.

He had tried to exchange $100 into euros but became angry over the rate offered, local media reported.

He then tried to cancel the transaction before closing the shutters and allegedly preventing the woman from leaving the office, near the Rialto Bridge.

The woman was reportedly left “upset and frightened” by the ordeal, which lasted around half an hour.

She managed to call local caribinieri, who opened the shutters and arrested the man.

He did not get his money back, according to Italian media reports.

This is the latest in a long series of incidents involving visitors to the lagoon city. In one shocking incident last month, a gondolier was headbutted by a tourist in a row over selfies.

Meanwhile other visitors to the city have found themselves in trouble with police after breaking local rules on “decorum”, including two German tourists who were fined €950 and told to leave after brewing their own coffee next to the Rialto Bridge.

The relationship between Venice and its visitors is often strained, with the city's economy dependent on tourism but its residents increasingly frustrated with the crowding and disruption that comes of hosting 12 million tourists per year.

Authorities have introduced swathes of ordinances to regulate public behaviour, cracking down on everything from snacking in public to wheeling trolley suitcases to failing to wear a shirt. 

But many criticize the government for failing to regulate those profiting from mass tourism, especially the cruise ship companies that ferry thousands of people into the historic centre at once.

READ ALSO: No, Venice hasn't just banned cruise ships from its lagoon

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Eight events to look forward to in Italy this June

As the days lengthen and the weather warms, Italy's cultural calendar becomes filled with open-air events and festivities. From regattas to light shows to music festivals, here's what we can look forward to this June.

Eight events to look forward to in Italy this June

Whether you live full-time in Italy or are just passing through in the coming weeks, there’s a large number of events on this month that will satisfy sports enthusiasts and culture lovers alike.

Here are our eight top picks for things to do in Italy this June.

Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics, Venice – June 2nd-3rd

Kicking off June’s events is the Palio delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare, in which Italy’s four historic maritime republics of Venice, Amalfi, Genoa and Pisa compete in a close-fought rowing race.

The cities take it in turns to host the race; this year’s will take place on Venice’s north lagoon and Grand Canal, with the women’s teams competing on the Friday and the men’s on the Saturday.

Infiorata, Genzano and Spello – June 10th-12th

June sees more than one Italian town erupt in colour as its streets are carpeted with elaborate flower blossom formations stretching hundreds of metres long.

The title for the oldest infiorata belongs to the Roman town of Genzano, which this year will celebrate its 245th edition from June 10th-12th; the infiorata in Spello, Umbria will take place on the same weekend, to coincide with the Corpus Domini religious festival.

Caracalla Festival, Rome – May 30th-August 10th 

Set among the atmospheric ruins of the ancient Roman Caracalla baths, Rome’s annual Caracalla Festival features a combination of opera, ballet, classical and pop music performances.

On Friday, June 23rd, attendees will be treated to a special screening of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, with a live orchestra playing Chaplin’s original score.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy in summer 2023

Arena di Verona Opera Festival – June 16th-Sept 9th

Italy’s city of love is holding a special 100th edition of its celebrated Arena di Verona Opera festival this year.

The city’s Roman amphitheatre will play host to operas including Aida, Carmen, the Barber of Seville, La Traviata and Tosca, among others.

The Arena di Verona will this year host the 100th edition of its opera festival.

The Arena di Verona will this year host the 100th edition of its opera festival. Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP.

Luminara of San Ranieri, Pisa – June 16th

The Tuscan city of Pisa celebrates its patron saint’s day by lighting up the city’s buildings with a magical display made up of over 100,000 wax candles perched on wooden supports known as biancherie.

The evening is topped off with a fireworks show and is followed the next day with the Palio di San Ranieri, in which crews of rowers from the city’s four districts race down the Arno and must climb a 10-metre pole to claim the winner’s flag.

Festival of Two Worlds, Spoleto – June 23rd-July 9th

The 66th edition of the Festival dei Due Mondi or Two Worlds Festival in Spoleto, Umbria will feature the usual mix of music, dance, operatic and theatre performances.

The festival was founded by the composer Gian Carlo Menotti in 1958 and was originally twinned with Charleston in South Carolina, with the intention of marrying the ‘two worlds’ of American and European culture.

The hilltop town of Spoleto in Umbria hosts the annual Festival of Two Worlds. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP)

Italia loves Romagna concert, Reggio Emilia – June 24th

The proceeds from this charity concert will go to residents of the northeastern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, after heavy flooding in May caused widespread devastation.

The concert will be held in the RCF Arena and will feature performances from singers including Giorgia, Gianni Morandi, Blanco and Laura Pausini.

Ocean Race Grand Finale, Genoa – June 24th-July 2nd

The final leg of the of the Ocean Race, a six-month round-the-world sailing competition, will finish for the first time in Genoa this year for its 50th edition.

To mark the occasion, the city will host a nine-day events programme, turning its Waterfront di Levante marina into the Ocean Live Park, featuring cultural events, educational workshops, sailing-themed exhibitions and experiences, and regional food and beverage stands.