Venice mayor calls out ‘imbeciles’ surfing Italian city’s historic canals : NPR

The mayor of Venice, Italy, has launched a search for two people using motorized surfboards to cruise the city’s picturesque canals. The couple is currently facing large fines.

Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro / via Facebook

Two tourists in Venice, Italy, angered the city’s mayor by riding a motorized surfboard through the famous Grand Canal this week, prompting Mayor Luigi Brugnaro to call them “idiots” mock Venice.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro posted a video of the couple on Facebook and Twitter, asking people in his city to help find surfers. For extra motivation, he offered a free dinner to anyone who could identify the two and bring them to justice.

“Venice is NOT Disneyland,” the mayor wrote as he posted the second video shows the couple surfing their surf under an arched bridge in a city known for its serene beauty. Passers-by stared back at the scene.

Brugnaro got his wish: the pair were tracked and their boards seized shortly, he said in an update on social media.

The surfers were tourists from Australia, who have now been fined 1,500 euros (about 1,509 dollars), according to the local newspaper La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre. The mayor also wants to see them prosecuted for damaging Venice’s image.

The incident happened four years after Venice Private watercraft is prohibited such as paddleboards and kayaks from its main waterways, which, due to overcrowding, have led to the flow of gondolas and vaporetti (water buses). The law allows for some exceptions, but they are mostly for residents.

Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – but it’s already in danger of being lost classified as “in danger.” In an effort to reduce the harmful effects of tourism, large cruise ships have been banned from entering the city center in recent years.

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