ABOVE: An illegal bicyclist in Venice's Centro Storico. INSET BELOW: Spiderman can flout the law (but only because he's an arachnid who hasn't reached adolescence).
We don't know if the bicyclist above and her offscreen companion didn't have a clue, or if they were simply ignoring Venice's feet-and-boats-only law while hoping they wouldn't get caught. Either way, cruising Venice's historic center on wheels qualifies as a Stupid Tourist Trick unless you're a child or a disabled person in a wheelchair.Bicycling, roller-skating, and skateboarding are forbidden in the city center, and for good reason: Many of the streets and lanes are narrow, and they're often filled with pedestrians.
Italy is a child-friendly country, so young children can get away with riding around squares on their Barbie and Ken bikes or Hello Kitty Rollerblades, but adults are expected to park their bikes on the Lido, in Mestre on the mainland, or--if they can find a space--at the Piazzale Roma (the vehicular gateway to Venice), where the municipal Autoremissa Comunale parking garage has free parking for 25 bikes with a limit of one day per visit.
For information about bike parking in Venice, see the city government's English-language On Bicycle page.
Or, for more details about the free (but limited) bicycle parking at the Piazzale Roma, go to the ASM Venezia Web site and drill down to "Bicycle Parking / Venezia."
Tip: If you're biking to Venice's historic center from the mainland and plan to stay overnight, we recommend staying at either of two hotels by the Piazzale Roma that offer bicycle storage for guests: