Throwing rice at newlyweds and feeding the pigeons of St Mark’s Square with bird seed will become illegal under new laws designed to rid Venice of its “unbearable” flocks.I'm sure it made some Italian bureaucrat's day to come up with the kamikaze line.
Massimo Cacciari, the mayor, said that while throwing rice at weddings was a longstanding Italian tradition to wish newly married couples fertility and happiness, it also had the unfortunate side-effect of feeding pigeons. These pests were a threat to human health and were destroying the city’s Renaissance and Baroque architecture, he said.
The mayor was supported by Marco Agostini, the chief of police, who said: “Throwing rice at the bride and groom brings hordes of pigeons who then wait around until the next ceremony. The situation has become unbearable.”
An estimated 120,000 pigeons nest in colonies in Venice’s palazzos and churches, twice the resident human population. Feeding pigeons on St Mark’s Square has long been a tourist attraction. However, Venice officials say that the pigeons are damaging buildings with their corrosive droppings and are attacking the marble and stucco façades with their beaks, including the ornate St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.
A recent city council report said pigeons were attacking the façades “like kamikaze pilots” in scenes resembling Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film The Birds.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Venetian Pigeon Story
In the Times: