Travel tips

Venice bans pigeon feeding

woman feeding pigeons at Venice pigeons square

Kosala Bandara/Via Flickr

Wait! Don’t feed the pigeons!

Venice—fearful of people flocking to feed the famous fowl—is cracking down on one of its most treasured tourist traditions. A new law that went into effect May 1 bans pigeon feeding in St. Mark’s Square and throughout the city.

The ban has caused quite an uproar. The city’s 19 licensed birdseed vendors are outraged because their livelihoods are being threatened. And determined tourists apparently are still snapping the iconic pictures of Venice pigeons eating out of their hands, even risking a fine of 50 euros (about $75). Our friends at Intelligent Travel yesterday wrote, “New Venetian Law is For the Birds.”


Feeding the pigeons is as synonymous with Venice as gondolas and canals. One of my favorite memories of Venice is posing for photos with pigeons standing on my head, shoulders, arms and hands.

However, city officials have long been worried about the dangers of
pigeons, including human health concerns, damage to historic landmarks
and even increased trash from tourists. There are an estimated 130,000
pigeons in the city center, about 40 times the number that might be acceptable.

Are you visiting Venice this year or next? Were you hoping to take your own Venice pigeon-feeding photos? Is the new ban a silly statement that just frustrates tourists or is it a smart move to protect the city? Comments are welcome below.


Katie from EF

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