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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Behave or get out: Rome cracks down on tourists

Rome is a city with chaotic traffic, a plague of bag snatchers and aggressive panhandlers. 

It is also one of my favourite cities on the planet, where I spent eight memorable weeks a lifetime ago.

Rome, like Barcelona and Venice, is over-run by tourists and the Mayor and her merry band of councillors have had enough. 

Exasperated by tourists who frolic in Rome’s public fountains, vandalise monuments and treat its landmarks as their own personal living rooms, Rome is cracking down on badly behaved visitors. 

Mayor Virginia Raggi has proposed a law banning bad behaviour including eating or drinking in public, climbing on monuments, walking around partially unclothed and wading through fountains. 

While many of the measures already existed in temporary form or were rarely enforced, a unanimous city council vote has now made them permanent. And there’s a new twist: disobeying these rules means local authorities can exile the badly behaved from the city’s historic center for 48 hours.

“The Rome city center is an area protected by UNESCO, so clearly our center is our business ticket,” Raggi told the media, promising 'zero tolerance for those marring our city'

""Rome is, and always will be, welcoming, but that does not mean tolerating bad behaviour and damage being done to our city," she said.

A ban on snacking in public doesn't sound too welcoming to me, 

And some of new rules seem so petty that they'll be hard to implement – for example, the requirement that when drinking from Rome's public fountains, tourists must not let their lips touch the metal spout.

Other activities now banned include singing, or playing musical instruments on public transport.

No action yet, however, on sneaky Albanian beggars, pizza pirates or whippet-fast thieves on Vespas. 

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