SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

VENICE

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.

SHOW COMMENTS