Venice mayor hunts for ‘idiots’ filmed surfing along Grand Canal

Luigi Brugnaro offers dinner to anyone who can locate duo who ‘make a mockery of this city’

The mayor of Venice has said he is on the hunt for the “two overbearing idiots” who were filmed gliding along the Grand Canal on motorised foil surfboards.

The young men were spotted dodging gondolas and waterbuses as they navigated Venice’s main thoroughfare on Thursday morning. The scene was recorded by several astonished onlookers.

One of the videos that was widely shared online was posted by Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, on Twitter.

Ecco due imbecilli prepotenti che si fanno beffa della Città… chiedo a tutti di aiutarci a individuarli per punirli anche se le nostre armi sono davvero spuntate… servono urgentemente più poteri ai Sindaci in tema di sicurezza pubblica!
A chi li individua offro una cena!

— Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) August 17, 2022

“Here are the two overbearing idiots who make a mockery of this city,” Brugnaro wrote. “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.”

Brugnaro said he would “offer dinner” to anyone who could help locate the duo.

A clip of the transgression was also shared on the Instagram account of Venezia Non è Disneyland (Venice Isn’t Disneyland), a group set up by young Venetians with the aim of sensitising visitors to the city.

The video, which included the Beach Boys hit Surfin’ USA playing in the background, drew widespread indignation. “Shameful,” wrote one Instagram user. “They need to be expelled from Venice for life, mamma mia.”

Others, however, found their transportation method pretty cool. “I want one too!” wrote one commenter, while another said: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all travel around Venice this way without giving money to ACTV [the public transport authority].”

Venice authorities have been trying to crack down on bad behaviour for years, with so-called “angels of decorum” patrolling the streets during summer and fines in place for people caught diving into or bathing in the canals, walking around bare-chested, feeding pigeons or dropping litter.

Venezia Non è Disneyland keeps a close eye on the various infractions. In late July the group shared a video of a man jumping into the Grand Canal from a bridge, narrowly missing a passing boat.

Last week Brugnaro called for “10 days in jail” for a 33-year-old Scottish tourist who was caught taking a dip in a canalway.

In 2020 a French tourist was fined €150 after paddling along the Grand Canal on his standup paddleboard, and two German women had to pay €250 each for sunbathing in bikinis by San Stae church.


Angela Giuffrida in Rome

The GuardianTramp

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