An American tourist looking for somewhere to enjoy his gelato and drink a beer in Rome found out the hard way about the city’s rules on decorum.
The man was fined $450 by police after he settled down on the steps of a famed fountain for his snack. He was in violation of the city’s decorum rules.
First instituted in the 1970s, the rules were updated in 2018 in an effort to protect the city’s fountains, statues, and monuments. The update was an effort by city officials to maintain the environmental decorum of the city.
The 55-year-old American was questioned by police around 1 a.m. on a Saturday as he sat at the Fontana den Catecumeni in the Monti neighborhood.
When he ignored their requests to move, police issued the citation and fine. He was “intent on drinking and eating on part of the fountain,” police told CNN.
Eating and drinking on the steps of the fountain are just part of the decorum rules that police enforce in the city.
The rules cover everything from a ban on wheeled suitcases being dragged down historic staircases, walking around in public shirtless, swimming or splashing in fountains, and pub crawls.
The rules also apply to residents and include bans on hanging out laundry to dry between neighboring buildings.
The rules are an effort to deal with the influx of tourists to the city, which saw more than 10 million visitors in 2019, the year before the pandemic.
City officials said the updated rules are meant to deal with “many aspects of city life, with particular attention on respecting the artistic and cultural heritage of the capital.”
Things To Know
Here are a few of the rules tourists should know about before visiting Rome:
- Eating or drinking at tourist landmarks
- Bathing or splashing in the fountains
- Touching the nozzle with your mouth while drinking from a fountain
- Using wheeled suitcases, strollers, or even wheelchairs on historic steps
- Sitting on the historic Spanish steps
- Singing or playing music while on public transportation
- Drinking in public
- Flying a drone
Officials got serious about these rules when one tourist drove a car down the Spanish steps and another pair rode electric scooters down those same steps, causing significant damage to the 18th-century construction.