Venice Bans Wheeled Suitcases, Cites ‘Noise Pollution’

Venetians have had just about enough of noisy wheeled suitcases. That’s right.

Locals in Venice have grown tired of the incessant rumble of travelers who trudge their clamorous wheeled luggage along the historic city’s narrow alleyways and stone footbridges. As a result, city officials have introduced fines of up to 500 euros ($620) for anyone caught using luggage equipped with hard rubber wheels.

But in a car-free city, wheeled suitcases are essential for visitors who need to reach their hotels by water taxi or on foot. Seemingly, the measure, due to come into effect in May 2015, is likely to create problems for many of the 22 million who annually visit Venice.

“The rule is designed to respond to the numerous citizens who have in recent years complained to the local council about the serious irritation caused by stuff being moved about at times of the day and night when the law provides for protection against noise pollution,” the local council said in a statement.

City officials reported concerns of “growing noise pollution,” coming from hard-wheeled suitcases and local businesses using trolleys. The cacophony of the everyday rattle seemed to be giving Venetians “serious discomfort” and causing “progressive deterioration” of centuries-old marble steps, stone pathways, and footbridges near Venice’s old canals.

Proposed by City Commissioner Victor Zapparlorto, the new rule requires travelers to use suitcases that roll on quieter air-filled tires, according to the Il Messaggero newspaper.

However, the vast majority of wheeled luggage sold around the world features wheels made of hard resin or plastic – the soft cushioned ones that will be required in the city are of little or no avail.

“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,” said Maurizio Dorigo, the council’s planning director.

For a city tackling grave issues like rising waters caused by global warming and the increase of high rents and property prices, the complaint of noisy luggage may seem trivial. But the council maintains that the problem is significant and that locals want the ban to be strictly enforced, though it might be difficult with over 60,000 tourists visiting each day.