For the second consecutive year the Municipality of Venice, the Associazione Piazza San Marco and Costa Cruises are staging the “San Marco Guardians” project in Venice.

From 10 am to 5 pm each day starting May 21 through October 6, 2013, a team of at least eight hostesses and stewards will be on duty in San Marco Square; two team members will be deployed from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm for the same period. 

Their job is to sensitize people to the need to respect the square and make proper use of the public and private services available there, by explaining the municipal ordinances in force.  They are also required to report any violations of council by laws to the local police.  The “San Marco Guardians”, recognizable by their orange sweaters, speak a number of foreign languages so they can communicate with visitors to Venice from all over the world.

The first edition, held from May through September 2012, was highly successful and welcomed by police, public institutions, trades people, tourists, residents and entrepreneurs.  The situation in the square improved markedly, largely on account of the fact that the “San Marco Guardians” were working in harmony with the local police force, who were therefore able to focus on other matters not strictly linked to the enhanced use of the area or to the provision of tourist information. 

The Piazza was tidier, cleaner and safer, and there were fewer illegal hawkers and birdseed vendors. The initiative was also appreciated by tourists.

Associazione Piazza San Marco President Alberto Nardi said, “This scheme, which we firmly backed from the outset, is very important and has already proved to be a highly effective means of countering practices that detract from the decorum of the square and its cultural heritage.  At the same time, the project offers a quality information service to the thousands of tourists who throng to St. Mark’s Square every day and really want to ‘relish’ the San Marco experience.”

Costa Cruises President Gianni Onorato commented:  “We are delighted to be taking part in this project once again together with the local authorities and institutions.  We are particularly attached to Venice and it is one of our most popular cruise destinations.  For this reason we are always only too willing to offer our support for initiatives that help to safeguard the city and its lagoon.”