by Nick Squires, The Telegraph, June 7, 2019
Visitors to Rome have been hit with a raft of new rules and regulations that ban everything from jumping in historic fountains to wandering around bare-chested and sucking on public water fountains.
Exasperated by the sometimes louche behaviour of tourists, city authorities are cracking down on eating snacks in public places and even bouncing pushchairs and wheeled suitcases down the staircases of historic monuments such as the Spanish Steps.
Local touts who dress up as Roman legionaries, complete with plastic swords, plumed helmets and leather breastplates, in order to demand money from tourists for photos are also targeted – they are now permanently banned from popular attractions such as the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain.
Some of the new rules seem so pedantic that they will be hard to enforce – it has been decreed that when drinking from Rome’s public fountains, tourists must not let their lips touch the metal spout.
Instead they should do as the Romans do – place a finger beneath the mouth of the spout so that the water spurts out of a strategically placed hole on top of it, producing an arc of water that is easy to drink.
Overly messy eating of snacks is also in the sights of the authorities, who do not take kindly to tourists dropping tomato sauce and shreds of mozzarella on marble and travertine monuments.
The city council has updated and expanded a range of regulations, some of which have been on the statute books since 1946.
They have gathered ad hoc and sometimes temporary ordnances into one big package of rules.
The objective is to stamp out uncouth and anti-social behaviour by the millions of tourists who visit the Eternal City each year.
Tourists who conduct themselves really badly will be hit with Asbo-style orders which will ban them from the area in which they committed the offence.
Men can expect a fine if they are caught strolling around bare-chested, while the popular practice of attaching “love padlocks” to monuments will also attract a fine.
Organised pub crawls and touts who sell skip-the-line tickets at places such as the Colosseum and the Vatican are also prohibited.
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, said she would write to foreign embassies to encourage them to make citizens of their countries aware of the new regulations.
“Rome is, and always will be, welcoming, but that does not mean tolerating bad behaviour and damage being done to our city,” she said.
One regulation will hit some Roman residents hard – a ban on the time-honoured practice of hanging out their laundry on wires that extend from one side of the street to another.
Another regulation says that singing or playing musical instruments on public transport is banned.
It will affect groups of roving Roma gypsies who ask for change while performing on trams and trains.