A unique city requires unique rules. Some are simple courtesy that make it easier for everyone to enjoy the city while others can result in a fine if broken. Most are common sense and sensible to follow when in Venice.
1) Walk on the right and when stopping to look at shop windows or examine restaurant menus on crowded streets avoid blocking other pedestrians.
2) Make way for the two wheeled trolleys used to transport merchandise and luggage around the city.
3) Do not sit on steps leading to bridges. That’s obvious and impossible on the Rialto but even on smaller bridges sitting down creates unnecessary and annoying obstruction.
4) Wear proper attire when entering churches. In practice that means shoulders and knees should be covered and it’s a good rule to follow throughout the city. Bare chests aren’t always a pretty sight and flip-flops are better for the Lido than the stones of Venice.
5) Do not drag luggage over bridges. Lift suitcases and trolleys to avoid damaging stone steps.
6) Remove backpacks while on board vaporetto (ferries) and carry them in your hands. This is less a matter of pickpocket (rare in Venice) prevention than to maximize space and avoid disturbing other passengers. Also avoid blocking the entrances to boats.
7) Never discard waste in streets or canals. This includes cigarette butts, unwanted food and everything else. There aren’t many trash cans in Venice but you can walk into a bar and use their bin in a pinch.
8) Do not feed the pigeons in Piazza San Marco. It’s forbidden and any offers of birdseed should be politely declined.
9) Avoid swimming in canals. They are for maritime navigation only.
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