Sitting, eating or drinking could cost up to €400 ($450)
For both Italians and visitors alike, enjoying a sunny day while hanging around the landmarks in Rome could become quite expensive. The city’s officials have started to enforce a ban restricting people from sitting on them.
One of the affected landmarks is the Spanish Steps, which are also part of the Unesco World Heritage.
Police are patrolling the famous 137 steps that were built almost 300 years and have enjoyed a lot of attention since. The ban became effective in June and as of 8 July, sitting, eating and drinking on the steps might be fined up to €400 ($450).
“The steps are a work of art, and you don’t sit on works of art,” said the head of a local residents’ association, Gianni Battistoni.
“People come, pass through and leave. We can finally say that the steps have been given back to the city.”
The newly implemented ban also applies to other protected sites in the city, such as the Trevi Fountain. It is also forbidden to touch lips against the spout while drinking from the city’s public water fountains.
Other bad behaviour can result in fines ranging between €100–400 and possibly even a temporary ban from the city centre.
“So long as some tourists — not all — continue to behave excessively, like those who damage the Colosseum by carving their names into it or bathe in our historic fountains, applying the rules rigorously, like in this case, is understandable,” said local councillor Anna Vincenzoni.
Other Italian cities also battle with unwelcome behaviour
Venice is another city struggling with overtourism. It has announced a ban of cruise ships from its historic city centre. The ban comes after a prolonged battle between residents of Venice and ocean liners.
According to the Italian minister for transport, the ships will be rerouted from the centre to terminals such as Fusina and Lombardia. The alternate routes will come into effect next month and by next year, a third of cruise ships will be diverted away from central Venice.
Similarly, last year the city of Florence introduced a ban for eating and snacking in some of the city’s areas. During certain times, those breaking the law can face a fine of between €150 and €500.