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Europe’s 10 tourist rules you never realised you had to follow

Europe’s 10 tourist rules you never realised you had to follow
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When your entire country can be considered a work of art or priceless history, officials sometimes have to go to extremes to protect their national treasures, leading to some pretty surprising rules that you need to follow when you travel.

Don’t sit on the steps in Rome

Don’t sit on the steps in Rome
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New tourist laws in Rome make it illegal to sit on the city’s famed Spanish Steps. The explanation: The newly renovated stairs are a centuries-old historic monument, not actually seating. The same goes for other historic stairways in the city; you can walk up and down, but don’t get comfortable by grabbing a seat or you can be issued a fine. It’s also against the law to bump your wheeled luggage and baby strollers down ancient stairs since it can destroy the stone. Even though these rules can sound pernickety, it’s become a necessity to protect the ancient highlights of the city since Italy is the country everyone wants to travel to this year.

Don’t wear heels in Athens

Don’t wear heels in Athens
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Rome isn’t the only iconic city worried about preserving vintage stone; in Greece, it’s illegal to wear high heels when you’re touring storied monuments like the Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens, or any other ancient marble and stone historic site. (They’re notoriously slippery, so we wouldn’t recommend it anyway.)

Prone to sore and aching feet? These soothing tips can help.

Don’t jump in the Canal in Venice

Don’t jump in the Canal in Venice
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It’s never OK to swim, or even dunk your toes, in the famous canals and lagoons in Venice; it’s against the law. Honestly, you shouldn’t even want to, it’s not all that clean. Instead, head to lovely Lido Island for beautiful sandy beaches and clean swimming waters.

Fountains are not for swimming

Fountains are not for swimming
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Forget what you’ve seen in movies, you’ll be in hot water if you try to splash around in Rome’s Trevi Fountain to cool off, or in any other fountain in Italy. Instead, head to the beautiful beaches of Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast to cool off during the summer.

Don’t swim in the Blue Grotto

Don’t swim in the Blue Grotto
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Speaking of water in Italy, if you see a sign that prohibits swimming, take it seriously. Heidi Klum and her newly betrothed Tom Kaulitz were recently fined more than $6,000 for leaping into the fabled waters of the Blue Grotto in Capri after they tied the knot on a nearby yacht.

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Don’t snack on the go

Don’t snack on the go
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Here’s an Italian law that may catch you by surprise: It’s illegal to eat messy food in historic locations in Rome, Florence, and Venice. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your gelato in a park or while you stroll down a quiet street, but you could be fined (or even removed from the city center) if you try to eat a pizza in a historic piazza or drip your ice cream onto the stones of the Coliseum. And in Greece, you can’t bring drinks, food, or gum into any historic sites, either. And please don’t cook your food in a historic site: two German tourists were actually kicked out of Venice for brewing coffee on the famed Rialto Bridge.

Keep your shirt on

Keep your shirt on
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Taking a dip in the sea in Barcelona? Don’t plan on walking around in your bathing suit once you leave the beach; wearing just a bikini or swim trunks on the street is a fineable offence here and also on the popular Spanish island of Mallorca. And men, keep your shirt on when you’re in Rome, too; it’s against the law to walk around bare-chested. Taking your phone?

Remember these 10 mobile phone etiquette rules and stay in the locals’ good books.

Don’t feed the pigeons

Don’t feed the pigeons
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Want to toss a few breadcrumbs to the infamous flying residents of San Marco Square in Venice? Not so fast! It’s actually against the law to feed the pesky pigeons. Same goes for the birds in Vienna, Austria, where feeding the pigeons has been a fineable offence since 2014.

Keep the noise down

Keep the noise down
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If you’re visiting Germany, it’s illegal to make too much noise on a Sunday or holidays. And keep things down when you’re visiting Venice, too; a new law says that making too much noise at night or during siesta time (1 pm to 3 pm), is also forbidden.

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