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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How will Venice’s tourist tax affect second-home owners?

Those who live in Venice are exempt from paying a new charge for tourists - but how do the rules apply to other frequent visitors who aren't resident?

View of Venice's Grand Canal
Day-trippers looking to access Venice’s city centre and its smaller islands will be charged an entry fee starting from January 16th 2023. Photo by Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP

Question: I own a property in Venice, but I’m not registered as a resident as I don’t live there permanently. Will the new ‘tourist tax’ apply to me?

Many people who own homes in Italy are not registered as residents, even if they spend significant amounts of time in the country.

But in certain parts of the country, second-home owners and other frequent visitors are becoming concerned that they may now be hit by additional charges and rules aimed at controlling tourist crowds.

Venice will introduce a new entry fee in January 2023. While residents will no doubt be exempt from the tax, what are the rules for others who spend a lot of time in the area – but aren’t officially resident?

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

Commonly known as the ‘tourist tax’, the new charge or contributo di accesso will apply to daytrippers looking to visit the city centre or any of Venice’s smaller islands.

It will cost between three and ten euros and will be in place from January 16th, 2023, city mayor Luigi Brugnaro confirmed earlier this month.

The goal of the measure, said Brugnaro, is to encourage visitors to stay in the city overnight, and to better regulate seasonal crowds as Venice’s pre-pandemic overtourism problems begin to resurface. 

While it was clear as far back as last April that those residing within the Comune di Venezia – which includes Mestre and all minor islands – would be exempt from paying the entry fee, uncertainty still lingers over others who are not registered as residents in Venice.

The local authority’s website states that those who own “property located within Venice’s municipality and their close family members” will be exempt from the fee, as long as they’ve paid their taxes: second-home owners are required to pay a tax known as IMU (Imposta Municipale Unica, or Unified Municipal Tax) on the property in question. 

It’s worth noting that IMU must be paid by all second-home owners, regardless of their nationality. It’s generally paid in two instalments: one in summer and the other in the last months of the year (this year’s second payment is due on December 16th).

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

So, are we certain that those who own a second home in Venice and regularly pay their IMU are exempt from the entry fee? Well, they should be.

But Venice’s city council hasn’t yet approved the final text of the decree setting out the rules for applying the charge. So for now, this exemption is not confirmed.

Additionally, should the exemption for second-home owners be confirmed, it isn’t yet clear what type of documents they would be asked to produce in order to confirm their ‘exempt’ status. 

Alongside residents and second-home owners, those working or studying in Venice’s city centre or any of its smaller islands should also be exempt from the contributo, as will be visitors spending the night in one of the city’s hospitality structures (hotels, B&Bs, hostels and so on). 

Exceptions are also expected to apply to children under six years of age, anyone born within the Comune di Venezia, people with disabilities and their carers, public officials, and people visiting family members. A full list is available here

The local authority in Venice is expected to confirm the rules and exemptions in the coming weeks.

Find more information about how the new charges will apply in a separate article here.

Do you have a burning question about life in Italy that you’d like the The Local’s writers to answer? Email us here.

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TOURISM

Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

With bans on everything from beachwear to snacking in the wrong places, there are a few things you should know before a trip to famously rule-heavy Venice.

Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

By now, most regular visitors to Italy know better than to do things like bathe in fountains, wander the streets and piazzas in revealing swimwear, or pocket pieces of the local monuments. All of the above could land you with a hefty fine.

READ ALSO: ‘Bikini ban’: Why Italy’s Sorrento has outlawed swimwear

But while the above rules might appear fairly obvious, over the years a number of Italian destinations have introduced more eyebrow-raising bans, mainly in the name of preserving ‘decorum’.

Venice, the crown jewel of northern Italy, in particular boasts a rather lengthy list of “forbidden behaviours”, aimed at “preserv[ing] urban cleanliness and landscape, and also for reasons of safety and public hygiene”.

Now, if you’re thinking that these measures are the urban equivalent of a scarecrow and are only in place to ‘frighten’ visitors into respecting the city, think again.

The regulations are enforced day in and day out by local authorities, and those flouting the rules do receive steep fines – as in the example of two German backpackers fined a total of 950 euros in summer 2019 after being caught making coffee on the Rialto Bridge.

So here’s a quick look at what NOT to do to avoid getting in trouble while visiting Venice.

  • As you may have heard, Venice has a strict beachwear ban. Don’t walk around bare-chested or in a swimsuit, unless you want to risk being fined 250 euros.
  • No eating or drinking while sitting on the ground or on the steps of the city’s monuments. The same goes for those who might be tempted to have a snack while sitting astride a bridge railing. Transgressors receive a fine of 100-200 euros and, above all, a city ban (also known as DASPO urbano), i.e. they will be immediately and indefinitely banned from the city.
  • Though the traditionally murky waters might not be that enticing at first sight, the summer heat still tempts some visitors into swimming in the canals. Don’t do it. The fine here is 350 euros and, again, it comes with a city ban.

  • Don’t feed the pigeons or seagulls. As a Venice resident, I can assure you that the local fauna is doing just fine and is in no need of external assistance. Fines for feeding the city’s birds range from 25 to 500 euros.
  • Bicycles and e-scooters are forbidden in the city centre, even when only led by hand. However, you can use them in Lido, Pellestrina and Punta Sabbioni.
  • No camping in public areas. Check before you pitch a tent or bivouac – you could be hit with a 200-euro fine and a city ban. Camping is allowed in Lido, Punta Sabbioni or in the mainland.
  • Don’t buy items from street peddlers. You can be fined anything from 100 to 7,000 euros for buying counterfeit goods. Also, unsurprisingly, any purchased item will be confiscated.
  • Don’t litter or dump rubbish in public areas. This one might sound obvious but, like the accompanying rule against dog fouling, exists for a reason. Fine: 350 euros.
  • Dogs must be on a leash and wear a muzzle on public transport, whereas smaller animals must be transported in a carrier. You can be denied access to the service otherwise.

Bonus unofficial rules

While these aren’t legally enforceable, flouting the following unspoken rules could incur the wrath of the locals – something that could be far more unpleasant than a fine.

  • Don’t block the calli. Venice is known for its narrow streets, or calli. Try not to stop in the middle of a calle or a bridge to avoid creating blockages and, above all, spare yourself the rage of residents going about their day. If possible, always stand on the right so as to allow people to walk past you.
  • Take off your backpack on public transport. The city’s buses and waterbuses (or vaporetti) are usually very crowded, especially during peak hours and over the summer months. So this will decrease your chances of hitting other passengers in the face.
  • Be quiet. Venice is a relatively small city, with most houses overlooking at least one calle. When walking through residential areas, try to be as silent as you possibly can to avoid upsetting residents.
  • Recycle properly. If you’re staying in an apartment or flat, don’t forget about recycling and waste collection. Find out more via a mobile app offered by Veritas, the local waste management company.
Tourists fined for consuming food on the ground in Venice
 

What isn’t banned

You may have heard that wheelie suitcases are banned in Venice, but in fact you can safely bring them to the city. A ban on dragging luggage through the streets was proposed in 2014 due to the noise, but it was never enacted. 

That doesn’t mean residents will appreciate being woken by the sound of your rolling luggage rumbling through the calli, so refer to the unofficial rule above and take care if you arrive late at night.

READ ALSO: Drink from fountains not plastic bottles, Venice tells visitors

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