bag sellers

upon kind request, i am starting a new thread about “bag sellers”. i’m sure this request refers to streets vendors who display their goods on the ground, along the streets (calli) or on bridges. quite a shocking view when you get to venice especially for the first time.obviously this business is illegal, but so spread (and well organized, and not only in venice but all over italy) that the officers have a hard time stopping it. the numbers: sellers are more and more, officers come in 2 or 3 per inspection. and there is a net of “sentinels” who inform bag sellers via cell phone if inspectors are in sight. so it is virtually impossible to catch them.

it must be added that some vendors have a regular business permit as “ambulante” (itinerant seller), which they display, and pay an annual fee. in the majority of cases, they do not have such permits.

an advertising campaign in various languages set by the Comune di Venezia and Chamber of Commerce informs people that buying from these vendors is very often a way to reinforce criminal organizations that exploit immigrants, instead of a way to help immigrants. Buyers can be fined: if you buy a Gucci’s bag for — say — 10.00 euro in the street, you are aware that there must be something wrong. Really wrong.

5 Responses to “bag sellers”

  1. Ross Says:

    Having had one weeks holiday in Venice every February for the past 9 years, not to mention numerous day trips, I am disturbed by the number of bag sellers now crowding the city. It can be quite intimidating to have them chase you down the street, particularly in the evening when returning to your hotel.

    I am aware that local police have been assulted by them but this is no excuse for action not to be taken. The Police walk past and totally ignore this illegal activity. Instead they find it easier to fine any gullible tourist who buys from them. Surely this is the wrong way round. Yes, they are well spread and well organized but this is surely all the more reason to take action.

    I agree that this is an ever increasing problem throughout Italy but why not set an example and clear them from this wonderful city.

  2. buongiornovenezia Says:

    oh, it can be done… a few weeks ago, during the official visit of the President of the Italian Republic in venice, there was none of them around. every corner had been checked; obviously the main concerns were not about street vendors but about security in general, though also the look of the city was important.

    not even a fly was flying, as we say in italy (non si sentiva volare una mosca). everything was clean and perfect, like any celebration deserves. it was the result of a great effort, and of a great number of city and police officers employed. it is very difficult in fact — and very expensive — to keep total control over a city like venice for more than a few days.

    you ask why this can’t be done every day, or why there’s apparently no action taken during “normal” days against street vendors. i would like to know the answer. let me comment that we do not really feel them as a menace, though… yes, it’s true, some groups behaved aggressively in the past towards the officers.

    the lack of action may have several explanations. their increasing number is one.

    then, somehow it was not “politically correct” to persecute immigrants who can hardly make their living. this is no excuse anymore, as we all know what we are talking about: exploitation. when you ask policemen, they reply they are investigating on the organization centers. stop the source, they say. believe it or not, it does not seem to have any practical effect. shop owners have often demonstrated against the street vendors. so someone else should try to answer your question.

    in the general public’s opinion, the phenomenon has grown beyond expectations and there are not enough energies (and political will) to take control over it. also, when you have little resources (policemen) you have to choose how to use them more effectively; we can then argue that street vendors are considered a minor problem, and so they are if compared to other emergencies.

    it’s a hard and delicate question. still open.

  3. Helene Heininz Says:

    What I saw near the Santalucia railway station cannot be called street vendors. it’s a parade of people selling rubbish, and illegally. I love street vendors, I use to buy at markets, I consider them an integral part of urban history and culture. But this spits on Beauty

  4. Phil Says:

    I’ve just returned from a week in Venice. I go at least twice a year, more if the flights are available. The bag sellers on the Ponte d’ Scalzi are a particular pain. They take up half the bridge width and are very aggressive if you should disturb their sales area by trying to squeeze across the bridge.
    Why havn’t the police tackled this?
    It wouldn’t happen on Ponte Rialto, would it?

  5. buongiornovenezia Says:

    Phil, i know. i cross that bridge every other day. my impression is that the nly reason why tourists are bothered by this situation is because it is hard to get a good photo. but nobody really cares about it. we promise you we’ll inquire again at the local police station

Leave a Reply