Pop a wheelie: After uproar, Venice denies ban against roller suitcases

Greg Keraghosian

Time for a roller-bag U-turn: After suggesting otherwise, Venice officials are insisting that visitors will be able to keep using wheeled suitcases after all. Only heavier commercial carts will face a fine.

“[It] appears cooler heads prevailed in Venice. There is no other way for tourists to get around that without suitcases on wheels," cruise expert Stewart Chiron told Yahoo Travel. “Such a ban is absolutely ridiculous. Leadership in Venice needs to do a better job making the city more tourist friendly. The bridges in Venice have steps up and down and should be redesigned, making it easier for residents and visitors to get around.”

Venice officials remain concerned about suitcases’ effects on the city infrastructure. Photo: Thinkstock

Venice’s City Council created a mini-uproar last week when the Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino reported its plans to a slap a fine of $620 on tourists found using wheeled luggage, beginning in May. The Council’s planning director, Maurizio Dorigo, had gone on record about the ban with the Telegraph saying the suitcases were causing noise pollution and damaging the city’s fragile streets and bridges.

“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,” Dorigo said.

After international reports of the impending ban, Venice’s special commissioner, Vittorio Zappalorto told The Local that a roller suitcase ban was never a possibility.

“Certainly the rigid wheels contribute to damaging the alleys, piazzas and particularly the bridges due to the continual battering caused by lifting them up and down, he told The Local. “But that does not mean to say that the council will ban their use.”

So, at least for the moment, tourists who visit Venice will not need what the city council was recommending last week: inflatable, rubber-tired suitcases that haven’t been invented yet.

Venice gets over 20 million tourists a year, and accommodating them while preserving its failing infastructure has led to initiatives against Love Locks and large cruise ships.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.