A Czech tourist was thrown out of Venice after she was caught posing for photos topless on a war memorial.
The 30-year-old stripped off last Friday afternoon, dumping her belongings on the monument — which pays homage to Italy’s war heroes — as she went for a swim in the freezing lagoon, and then lay beside the statue of a murdered female partisan to pose for photos.
She was banned from Venice for 48 hours and fined 450 eur (11 000 crowns).
Local Mario Nason was out walking with his son when he saw the woman and her two companions on the monument, which sits on the waterfront.
Dedicated to the women who gave their lives in their fight for freedom under fascism, it consists of a bronze statue of a murdered partisan, half in the water, half on a platform of bronze and concrete.
Placed near the gardens of the Biennale, it is one of the relatively few statues dedicated to women in Italy.
“It was a beautiful day and we saw two people taking photos. I saw a strange movement and then I saw this woman swimming without a care in the world,” said Nason.
“I thought she must be crazy, thinking she could swim on a freezing day. But then I saw she was trying to get out of the water by climbing onto the statue, wearing just her bikini bottoms.”
“She got up on it, then she got back into the water, totally relaxed. Her boyfriend and another woman had jumped over the barrier and were on the monument, to take better photos of her. They were stood there beside her clothes that she’d left [on the monument], just as you do on the beach.”
“It was incredible because [the tourists] were asking, ‘How is this a problem?’ They didn’t have the slightest inkling of what they were doing,” said Nason.
“It’s like going to Rome, leaping in the Trevi Fountain and then saying, ‘What do you mean, you can’t do this?’
“You can say, whatever, they haven’t killed anyone. But when I travel, if I see a fountain, I don’t have the urge to jump in. If I’m in Paris, walking along the Seine, I don’t throw myself into the river. If I went to Prague, threw my clothes on a monument and went for a swim, would nothing happen? It’s common sense. Why do people do these things in Venice that they wouldn’t do elsewhere?”