Venice Fines ‘Idiots’ Who Surfed Grand Canal $1,500 a Piece

Venice Fines ‘Idiots’ Who Surfed Grand Canal $1,500 a Piece

Two young men who thought it might be fun to film themselves gliding down Venice’s Grand Canal on motorized boards have learned the hard way that fun comes at a cost.

The men, so far identified only as “foreign tourists” set off a manhunt after Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro put out an A.P.B. offering a free dinner to whoever brought them to justice for traversing the canal on an authorized vessel. “Here are the two overbearing idiots who make a mockery of this city,” Brugnaro wrote on his social media with the video. “I ask everyone to help us identify and punish them, even if our weapons are really blunt—mayors urgently need more powers in terms of public safety.”

The men were found Thursday morning, fined more than $1,500 each and their expensive toys were confiscated. They have been banned for life from returning to the UNESCO World Heritage city, and face further charges including a type of defamation for making the city look bad.

The surf fiasco is the latest in a string of tourists-behaving-badly scandals in Italy this summer, with Americans fined for throwing an electric scooter down Rome’s Spanish Steps and a number of fines doled out to people swimming in fountains amid record-breaking heat.

At one point in their well-documented journey one of the surfers fell off his board, but was able to handily keep his cellphone above water as he climbed back on. Tourists could be heard cheering the duo on from the city’s picturesque bridges as they traversed the length of the canal.

A number of commenters on the mayor’s posts noted that if even a fraction of the mayoral attention given to these joy riders could be diverted to other problems in the city—including efforts to control flooding, corruption in some halls of city government, and over-tourism in general–the city might be better off.

The dinner reward for the identification of the dumb duo—local media reported—will be at one of the most overpriced tourist restaurants in the city on St. Mark’s Square.

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