di Francesco Musolino
Venice, April 30 - Venice has launched a list of 10 guidelines for respecting the city in its ongoing battle over tourist etiquette. 'Venice Yours Too, Respect It' is the name of the new initiative, which encourages visitors to throw away trash, avoid wearing bathing suits in the city center, not to feed pigeons nor buy knock-offs from street vendors. Rather than a list of rules, the new campaign prods visitors to blend in and do as the Venetians do. "We decided not to tell people what's forbidden," said quality of life councilor Carla Rey. "Charm attracts more attention". Guidelines on Venetian decorum will be posted around the city as well as within a variety of local businesses that cater to tourists. They will be printed in seven languages: Italian, English, Spanish, Japanese, French, Russian and German. The campaign is also using a mascot, a cartoon winged lion, the symbol of the city. By some estimates Venice attracts 20 million tourists each year, dwarfing the dwindling local population of under 60,000. The city has implemented a number of good-manners initiatives over the years. In 2007 female 'guardians of decorum' were licensed to crack down on tourists going about bare-chested, lounging around in doorways and eating sandwiches in St Mark's Square. Dressed in smart blue trousers, white tops and white caps, the 'hostesses' watched over the city's most famous square and tourist magnet, stepping in at the first sign of 'uncivilised' behaviour. Those duties were gradually passed on to police officers.