Rome Bans Tourists From Sitting On Spanish Steps – Violators Will Be Hit With Steep Fines
The city of Rome, Italy has just announced that tourists will now be banned from sitting on the famous Spanish Steps, and violators will be hit with a fine of up to $280.
Police began patrolling the steps last Tuesday, blowing loud whistles at anyone who was sitting. Anyone caught sitting will be fined 250 euro, or about $280, and anyone spotted damaging the steps or making a mess will be fined 400 euro, or nearly $450.
This new rule was approved back in June along with many other ones, including rules that prohibit jumping into fountains, rolling suitcases, walking around without a shirt on, or engaging in “messy eating” at monuments. Many locals are upset that people have been banned from sitting on the famous steps, with one local art critic and former deputy minister of culture even describing it as a “fascist-style provision.”
“Protecting a monument is fine, and obviously you shouldn’t eat on the steps, but the ban on sitting down is really excessive. It seems to me to be a fascist-style provision that the municipality will be forced to review,” said Vittorio Sgarbi.
Built in the 18th century, the steps connect the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church. Three years ago, the steps went through a massive renovation costing 1.5 million euro, or approximately $1.6 million in today’s market, paid for by the Italian jewelry company Bulgari. During the renovation, things like coffee stains, wine stains and wads of chewing gum were removed.
Locals all agree that tourists need to stop making messes, but many still don’t think there should be a complete ban.
“We agree that people shouldn’t ‘camp out’ and eat on the steps of monuments, as rubbish gets left behind,” said Tommaso Tanzilli, a director of the Italian hotels association. “But criminalizing people for sitting down, especially if they are elderly, is a little exaggerated.”
Others, however, are very much in favor of the ban, especially local businesses.
“This is a small return to civility,” said Gianni Battistoni, the president of a local association of businesses. “To try to check who is damaging the monument by eating and drinking, you would need a police officer for every tourist.”