Monday, 10 Dec 2018

In Rome, a new law targets behavior as unpleasant for tourists as swimming in fountains

When in Rome, do like the good Roman tourists and do it. If you act like a tyrant, a new law could prohibit you from accessing parts of the Eternal City for up to 60 days.

Last month, the mayor of Rome signed a law targeting disruptive behavior and harmful behavior in the popular European destination, which welcomed more than 9.5 million visitors last year. The ordinance, which replaces a 1946 law, covers offenses such as late public consumption, swimming in fountains and desecration of historic sites. It also gives the local police greater authority to expel the perpetrators of certain acts of the city. Repeat offenders may lose their access rights for an extended period.

"Bad behavior destroys the city and the old downtown monuments," said Sara Verde, executive director and founder of Rome Tour Guide, which organizes tours of Rome and the Vatican with certified guides. "In summer, people bathe in the most emblematic fountains. The garbage attracts the seagulls and now Rome looks like a Hitchcock movie. "

Legislation covers several categories of behavior in different contexts. For example, it is illegal to bathe parts of your body – or those of your pet – in facilities such as the Trevi Fountain, the Lion Fountains in Piazza del Popolo, the Four Rivers Fountain in the Piazza di Spagna and the Fontanone on the Janiculum Hill. Also prohibited: throw garbage and liquids in the water, climb or lounging on the structures. (It is always permissible to throw a coin in the fountain.) People who commit such unacceptable acts risk expulsion from the area for two days. The ban on bathing and litter also applies to fountains, called nasoni, which are rotting throughout the city. It is allowed to sip public fountains. using them as a personal bidet for sweaty feet is not.

To fight against drunkenness, the law will restrict the consumption of alcohol in public spaces all year round; Previously, the rule only covered the summer peaks. Bar crawls are no longer allowed, nor is alcohol consumption in open-air venues such as gardens, parks and fountains starting at 11pm. To dispel the temptation, liquor retailers, including vending machines and roadside kiosks, are not allowed to sell take-away beverages from 10:00 pm. Restaurants, bars and other watering points should turn off the taps for 2-7 hours. In addition, from 22 hours. at 7 am you can not drink any kind of drink in a glass bottle, not even the fruit-flavored San Pellegrino.

A new law prohibits unacceptable activities such as bathing and climbing on the Trevi Fountain. However, visitors can still take selfies and launch a lucky coin. (Andrew Medichini / AP)

Asked about the problems raised by tourists, Davide Bolognesi, marketing manager of Roma Experience, a local tour operator, immediately spoke of vandalism.

"The first thing that comes to mind is the misplacement of some travelers to flee oblivion by engraving their name on the walls of the Coliseum," he said. "One of the biggest challenges in Rome is protecting, restoring and maintaining an immense treasure trove of monuments and works of art visited by millions of people every year."

To protect its priceless artefacts, the city will not tolerate vandals that degrade or disfigure the monuments or architectural elements of the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. In addition to facing criminal charges, the thugs must restore the good state.

The law also applies to individuals or groups who block the pedestrian flow around sensitive areas such as museums, parks, universities and hospitals – for example, by participating in an unruly football match in the Piazza del Campidoglio. The punishment: the expulsion of places. It is also forbidden to throw cigarette butts on public property and water sources, as well as leaflets or stickers stuck on street lights, signs or other accessories.

The Roman gladiator rule does not apply directly to tourists, but here's a tip: if a man wearing a knee-length tunic and a shield approaches you for a photo, move away. The law contains a prohibition order for costumed manipulators called "centurions", as well as "saltafila" (people who help you take the step on attractions or sell unauthorized tickets) and sellers. unlicensed foods and beverages.

"Strict rules preventing the destruction or ravages of this incredibly unique city are welcome," Bolognesi said. "But I would rather see new strategies, a new vision, another braver approach to the challenges of Rome."

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