Venice comprises over 100 tiny islands, which explains why it’s traversable via canal.
This Italian gem features landmarks such as St. Mark’s Basilica and Piazza San Marco. The beauty of Venice enchants you, and you long to visit, especially with your drone.
Can you fly a drone in Venice, Italy?
You can fly a drone in Venice, but not in tourist-heavy areas like San Marco, as it’s a designated no-fly zone. The only exception to the rule is having ENAC authorization, which you must obtain before you launch.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about using a drone in Venice, Italy, from getting through customs to where you can and can’t fly and the drone usage rules to follow once you get there.
Getting a drone into Venice
Before you can fly a drone in Venice, you must get it into Italy (unless you already live in Italy, then you can disregard this section).
We’ve described the process in-depth in this post, so this will be more of a recap.
» MORE: Can You Bring a Drone to Italy?
You must declare your drone at customs.
To facilitate a smooth transition, you’ll need proof of drone insurance, your registration (a copy suffices), and your passport.
The insurance must be valued at 1 million euros.
When traveling via plane with your drone, we recommend a fitted bag designed for drone storage.
Alternatively, you can use a drone carrying case. Don’t just stuff your UAV into your luggage, as it might not make it through in one piece!
You can bring a drone on the plane in your carry-on or checked luggage, but these bags must meet the size specifications of your airline.
Check your airline’s requirements before you pack up your drone.
The other consideration when packing your drone is batteries. You don’t want to forego them, as you’ll have a very short drone flight, but where do you keep them?
You must keep the batteries out of the drone and stored away. If you have LiPo batteries, you can buy a specialized LiPo bag for stashing the batteries.
Make sure your drone is off. With its batteries detached, that’s a moot point, but we had to mention it anyway.
Can you fly a drone in Venice?
You’re finally here in gorgeous Venice, Italy, and you’re so excited! You’ve unpacked your bags, checked into your hotel, and had a nice meal. Now you’re ready to go exploring with your drone. Can you?
According to the Italian Civil Aviation Authority or Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile, drones are permitted in Venice, but with exceptions.
The city prohibits drones from accessing tourist zones, as all are marked as no-fly zones.
One example of a blocked tourist zone is San Marco. Located in the city’s heart and the main attraction for Venice visitors, San Marco is a sestieri, one of six in Venice.
Within the district are many attractions that bring people to Italy, including:
- San Samuele
- San Zulian
- San Salvador
- Santo Stefano
- San Moise
- San Maurizio
- Santa Maria del Giglio
- San Fantin
- San Beneto’s churches
- Palazzo Bellavite
- Palazzo Grassi
- La Fenice theater
- Palazzo Cavalli
- Palazzo D’Anna Viaro Martinengo Volpi di Misurata
- Palazzo Corner Valmarana
- Palazzo Corner Contarini dei Cavalli
- Palazzo Dandolo
- Harry’s Bar
- Doge’s Palace
- Saint Mark’s Basilica
- Saint Mark’s Square
You’re forbidden from accessing these beloved locales with your drone unless with ENAC permission.
We’d suggest using a drone map to look for other restricted airspace throughout Venice and planning your route away from those areas.
What happens if you illegally use a drone in Venice?
Flying your drone into forbidden areas or disobeying the other drone laws we’ll outline in the next section is illegal in Italy, whether in Venice or the rest of the country.
If you’re caught, you will receive punishment for your crimes. You will likely receive a fine, but there’s always the possibility that your drone could be confiscated or you could be imprisoned.
You could get your drone back if it’s confiscated, but that’s a detailed, lengthy process. It will be even harder to retrieve your drone if you don’t speak Italian.
Italy drone laws to know for your trip
ENAC, Italy’s leading drone authority, has established rules on what’s allowed and what isn’t in this country.
If you stay in Venice’s allowable zones, you’re welcome to enjoy this amazing city via drone.
Additionally, since Italy is a part of the European Union, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency or EASA also has rules you must follow.
Let’s go over everything now.
Your drone must meet Open category specifications
EASA requires drones to fit into one of three classes based on weight.
The Open category is the most common for everyday recreational and commercial drones, so let’s discuss what criteria your drone must meet.
You must have purchased it before January 1st, 2023, with a class identification label between 0 and 4.
The drone’s takeoff mass must not exceed 25 kilograms or 55 pounds.
You must also meet these operational criteria:
- You will fly safely around crowds, not flying over people unless your drone weighs under 250 grams or 0.55 pounds
- You will always follow VLOS rules when flying your drone
- You will not fly higher than 120 meters from the ground
- You will not transport dangerous goods
- You will not use your drone to drop objects
Register your drone
If you’ve registered your drone within the European Union, there’s no need to register it again in Italy.
However, if your drone is only registered in the United States, you must register it in an EU country, Italy or otherwise.
The registration lasts for five years.
Avoid crowded event stadiums
You’re prohibited from using your drone in or around a concert venue or sports stadium throughout Italy.
Commercial pilots must detail operations
ENAC requires commercial drone pilots engaging in low-risk operations to indicate as much to them before beginning their project.
You must send a statement of compliance and pay the processing fee of 94 euros.
If your project is deemed a high-risk operation, you must do more than issue ENAC a statement of compliance.
You need a health certificate, an operating certificate, and special training before you can use your drone.
Do not fly over crowds
Pilots cannot fly a drone over crowds throughout Italy unless the UAV weighs 250 grams or less.
Stay within 5 kilometers of an airport
ENAC mandates that drone pilots fly only 3 nautical miles or 5 kilometers from airfields and airports. Check your drone map to mark airports and then steer clear.
Do not fly over sensitive infrastructure
Further, you cannot fly over any prison, nuclear plant, or military area throughout Italy.
The country also bans drone usage around public utility installations and archaeological sites like the Herculaneum, Pompeii, and the Colosseum.
Limit your drone altitude
Commercial pilots can only fly 150 meters or 492 feet from the ground, while recreational pilots can fly 70 meters or 230 feet.
Keep your drone in your visual line of sight
A pilot’s visual line of sight or VLOS is the figurative line in the sand that denotes how far you can fly your drone. Italian drone law forbids pilots from taking their drones further than 1,500 meters.
Maintain a buffer when flying in a residential area
Pilots cannot fly closer than 150 meters or 492 feet from a busy urban area or 50 meters or 164 feet from crowds.
You should also maintain a buffer of 1 kilometer when in a residential area so you don’t fly close to people.
Do not use your drone at night
Under no circumstances are you allowed to use your drone after dark, including commercially and recreationally.
Have an identification plate on your drone
ENAC law requires pilots to attach an identification plate to their drones that includes the operator and system information.
You also need an Electronic Identification Device if your drone is capable of real-time data transmissions.
Venice, Italy is a magnificent place to visit, and it’s quite drone-friendly. However, you cannot use your drone in the most popular and tourist-heavy parts of the city, as these are no-fly zones.
Italian drone law takes the protection of its people seriously, so not being permitted to fly in congested areas isn’t the worst thing.
When you do find a place to use your drone in Venice, make sure you avoid crowds, watch your altitude, and keep your drone in your visual line of sight!