A coastal town in Italy has started slamming people with a large fine for 'lingering' for too long while taking selfies.

Situated in the heart of the Italian Riviera, along the Ligurian Sea, Portofino is a small but gorgeous harbour known for its pastel houses, small vineyards, and hills of olive groves. While less than 1,000 people are believed to be residing in Portofino, it welcomes thousands of tourists every year, with the numbers massively going up, especially during peak season.

A fine of £242 has been implemented across two Instagram-famous photography spots within the popular Italian town, which are now marked as red zones or "no waiting" areas, according to The Independent.

Thanks to its adorable houses - beautiful in both shape and colour, glamorous boutiques, and restaurants with some of the most stunning decors, Portofino has become a very popular destination among Instagram enthusiasts. The crowd flow tends to get out of control as people get busy looking for the "perfect shot."

Matteo Viacava, Portofino's mayor, said selfie takers had been causing "anarchic chaos", including huge traffic jams and blocked streets.

However, the "no waiting" zones introduced by the local government will ensure the continuous flow of tourists even in the most popular spots of the island. The rule came into force during the recent Easter weekend and will continue until the holiday season ends in October, reported Mirror.

"The objective is not to make the place more exclusive but to allow everyone to enjoy our beauty. We want to avoid dangerous situations caused by overcrowding," said Viacava.

The fishing village is expecting a "large influx" of visitors to arrive in the coming months, considering the previous number of visitors, current bookings, and cruise ship schedules.

Portofino is a popular hotspot for selfie-taking and the hashtag #portofino has more than 1.2 million posts on Instagram. However, a person can still take a selfie in Portofino in the banned zones as the selfie ban lifts at 6pm every day.

Italy taking steps to tackle over-tourism

Italy is believed to be turning strict in order to preserve its natural beauty, architectural marvels, and more. It was recently reported that Italy will charge tourists who damage monuments up to £52,000. In March, an American tourist received an immediate fine for parking in the middle of a famous Florence plaza, while last year, a tourist was fined £390 for eating gelato on the edge of a fountain in Rome.

During the holiday season last year, Naples introduced a one-way foot traffic rule on a popular street filled with nativity scenes to cut down on crowding. In 2021, Venice took a calculated step to tackle over-tourism by tracking visitors using the city's extensive CCTV camera network and mobile phone tracking system.

Meanwhile, Portofino is not the only place where taking selfies is banned. In the UK, one cannot photograph themselves in parts of the Tower of London as selfies are banned there due to security reasons connected to the Crown Jewels.

In Japan, people are forbidden from using selfie sticks across the railway network because of fear that a person might touch overhead wiring and electrocute themselves. In Spain, selfies are forbidden during the annual Running of the Bulls event held in Pamplona. The rule is in place to stop people from getting themselves struck by the bulls. If a person is caught taking a selfie during the said event, they can receive a hefty fine of £2,640.

Selfies are also banned at Lake Tahoe in California after far too many tourists were caught sneaking shots of themselves with bears.

"We've had mobs of people that are actually rushing toward the bears trying to get a 'selfie' photo. It is presenting a safety issue. We are afraid someone is going to get attacked," Lisa Herron, spokesperson for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, told the Reno Gazette-Journal in 2014.

Even New York has banned people by law from taking selfies in zoos and areas where there could be dangerous wild animals in the background, such as tigers and bears.