First it was Venice leading the charge against unruly tourists in Italy. Now the capital has followed suit, with Rome announcing a ban on eating and drinking around its famous fountains.
About 40 fountains – those flagged as having historical significance – are affected. That means grabbing a gelato in Piazza Navona and sitting by the fountains to eat it is no longer a possibility. The ban – announced by mayor Virginia Raggi – is in place until 31 October.
Eating isn’t the only thing people are no longer allowed to do around the fountains. Getting in them, sitting on them, giving pets a drink and throwing things into the water has also been forbidden – although throwing coins is still allowed, meaning the tradition of lobbing money into the Trevi Fountain, which is said to ensure you’ll return to Rome, is still possible.
The fountains affected include those in Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Barberini, as well as the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. Anyone breaking the rules will be fined up to €240.
The move is Rome’s latest attempt to control loutish behaviour from its visitors, who are prone to bathing in fountains, defacing ancient monuments and even attempting to break into the Colosseum.
When fashion house Bulgari paid €1.5m to have the Spanish Steps cleaned and renovated, chairman Paolo Bulgari came under fire for referring to tourists – who use the steps as a public seating area – as “barbarians”.
Bulgari requested a fence to be erected, and to have the steps locked every night. While that hasn’t happened, there are two attendants permanently on duty, who allow tourists to sit there but swoop the second they begin to eat or drink.
On announcing the ban, Raggi said: “The beauty of Rome must be respected by everyone."