Speed Reads

Can't live with 'em...

Venice levies $630 fine for tourists pulling wheeled suitcases

The lovely, picturesque Italian city of Venice has 99 problems, but the only one anyone is talking about now is suitcases. Specifically, the kind with hard rubber wheels. One wheeled suitcase isn't that noisy, but 60,000 of them each day create quite a ruckus. So if the Venice city council has its way, starting next May, any tourist caught rolling a suitcase along Venice's scenic, car-less streets, bridges, and passageways will be liable for a 500 euro ($630) fine. Venetians are exempt.

Not all wheeled suitcases will be banned — luggage with inflatable wheels that don't make as much noise and won't cause so much wear on old paving stones and bridges are fine. If you can find one. "The law won't come into effect until May, so hopefully by then one or two companies might start producing trolley suitcases with air-filled wheels," says city council planning director Maurizio Dorigo.

Thus, Venice may become the first tourist destination more hospitable to poor young backpackers than well-heeled, cash-dropping business class travelers.