Partly it's a question of cultural differences...
(Remember the old story about how it's impolite in some countries to show the bottoms of your shoes?)
In part, it's considered a matter of respect. In part, it's a health issue. And last, but certainly not least, in part it's the overreaction of a city which is absolutely shellshocked by tourism:
(In fact, according to the Venetian newspaper Il Gazzettino on July 28th, for one Moldavian, a quick swim in a canal even got him kicked out of the country! Turns out that he was an illegal immigrant discovered precisely when the cops came to pull out the illegal swimmer!!)
I used to think that at every entrance to the city, there should be a warning sign posted...
like my imaginary one at right, created at sparesomechange.com, or my favorite actual Italian road (or end-of-the-road, as the case may be) sign below!
WELCOME TO VENICE!
For your own good
DO NOT do the following!
...Swim in canals.
...Wade in canals.
...Otherwise get too close to canals.
...Sit down on bridges.
...Sit down on the ground.
...Lay down on the ground.
...Otherwise get too close to the ground.
...Take off your shirt.
...Take off your shoes.
...Wear a bathing suit.
And, never, ever, under any circumstances,
put your feet up on anything!!
These are the big no-nos that will get you an intensely negative reaction from the locals more often than not, especially the hotter or the higher in tourist season it gets, when everybody's tempers also tend to run a bit high! (Believe me, even if Venetians tend to be reserved, your participation will be appreciated!!)
There are all kinds of additional little tricks to blend in more, but--to tell the truth--you'll never quite blend in thoroughly and completely.
Venetians are experts at guessing foreigners at first glance!
(Oh well... it's the thought that counts!!)Categories: Venice