Just when you thought swimming in canals, vandalizing property and posing topless on a war memorial were as bad as tourist behavior got in Venice, think again.
Two people decided to go surfing on Wednesday morning. The spot they chose to do so: not the beaches that the city enjoys – but up the Grand Canal.
Seemingly riding eFoils (electric surfboards raised out of the water on hydrofoils), they were caught on camera riding up and down the waterway. The Grand Canal is not just the center of the UNESCO World Heritage site lined with historical buildings, but it’s also the main thoroughfare of Venice.
On footage captured by various locals, they were caught dodging a vaporetto (water bus) and a taxi under the Rialto Bridge as well as zipping past the Salute basilica, one of the city’s iconic sites.
As they passed under the Accademia Bridge, one of the surfers fell off his board but made sure to hold what appeared to be his phone out of the water, filming his companion.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted a video of the surfers, calling them “two overbearing idiots making a mockery of the city.” He offered a free dinner to anyone able to identify the pair.
Whether someone took him up on his offer or whether they deployed the cameras of their Control Room that monitors the city through CCTV, Brugnaro later tweeted that the pair had been identified.
“The two surfboards have been confiscated and soon … those responsible will be in our grasp.”
Local paper Il Gazzettino later reported that the pair had been caught. The two boards – worth around €25,000 ($25,440 US) – were confiscated for not being insured, it said, while each surfer was fined €1,500 for having endangered the navigation of the canal. They were also hit with an antisocial behavior order and expelled from the city immediately.
The city has also instructed lawyers to start proceedings against the pair for damaging the image of the city. The men’s consulates will also be contacted.
Venice isn’t the only Italian destination travelers have behaved badly this summer. In the past two months, tourists have been driving down the Spanish Steps in Rome, hurling a scooter down the same steps and riding a scooter around Pompeii.
Top image: Screengrab from Twitter post (Luigi Brugnaro)