Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
The city's reasoning is ... sound. Way too much of it.
Carrying wheeled suitcases could now be a crime—and not just a fashion crime—in Venice, Italy.
The city council just introduced a law that suggested fining wheelie-dragging tourists up to $650, which is approximately how much six extra wheelies would run you on an Alitalia flight from North America to Italy. *(Some local sources now say that the law would be more squarely directed at hard-wheeled luggage trolleys.)
The legislation was introduced to address the problem of tourists rattling luggage across the city's cobblestone pathways at all hours of the day and night, which the council argued contributed to noise pollution in the city. Littering has always been a problem in tourist destinations, and squeaky wheels grating on the sidewalks outside the Piazza San Marco on a lazy Italian afternoon are apparently just as exasperating. The situation is so bad that when big groups arrive or leave, the entire town is kept awake by the cacophony of little plastic wheels hitting stone after stone, Il Messaggero reports. That's why City Special Commissioner Victor Zappalorto has instituted the ban as a part of the city's building code. The wheels, it seems, also literally grate on the city's marble staircases, stone walkways, and historic bridges, causing wear and tear, officials claim.
But let's be honest, wheeled suitcases and luggage trolleys are very handy for travelers. For the 20 million-plus tourists who visit Venice each year, it's going to be quite a hassle to schlep all their stuff across the city in inconveniently large duffle bags starting next year.
But officials have a solution: the not-yet-invented "Venice trolley."
"Hopefully by [May 2015], one or two companies might start producing trolley suitcases with air-filled wheels," The Telegraph quotes the council's planning director Maurizio Dorigo saying.
Perhaps this man's last invention—a foot-powered wheelie you can ride to and from the airport—just needs a small tweak?
*This story has been updated with more current information.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that 20,000 tourists visited Venice each year, when in fact, it's upwards of 20 million.