by Nick Squires, The Telegraph, June 12, 2017
Tourists tempted to seek respite from Rome’s torrid summer heat by taking a dip in the city’s historic fountains are to be hit with a fine of 240 euros (£212).
The new decree was announced on Monday by Virginia Raggi, the mayor, after a spate of cases in which visitors stripped off and plunged into centuries-old Baroque fountains.
“The beauty of Rome must be respected by everyone,” Ms Raggi wrote on Facebook. “We will not tolerate behaviour that contravenes decorum and we want to protect the historic, artistic and archaeological heritage of Rome.”
The decree prohibits tourists – and Romans, for that matter – from paddling or swimming in 40 historic fountains, including the famous Trevi Fountain, immortalised in the 1960 Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita, in which Swedish actress Anita Ekberg waded into the thigh-high water.
Tourists are also banned from eating or drinking while sitting on the edge of the fountains, clambering over them or allowing pets to drink from them.
The list includes “La Barcaccia”, a boat-shaped fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps, as well as marble monuments in Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Navona and in the Trastevere district of the city.
The ban comes just as the mercury is expected to reach 90F in the capital this week. The combination of high summer temperatures and inviting-looking fountains has proved too much for many tourists in the past, with numerous cases of visitors immersing themselves in the water.
There was indignation last July when three women stripped down to their bikinis to cool off in the 400-year-old Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, on the Janiculum Hill overlooking the city centre.
The landmark dates back to 1612 and was featured in the opening scenes of Paolo Sorrentino's Oscar-winning film “The Great Beauty”.
In the same month, a British former model evoked La Dolce Vita by wading into the Trevi Fountain in an evening dress and fur stole, in imitation of Miss Ekberg.
But she got more than she bargained for when police ordered her out of the water and immediately slapped her with a fine of 450 euros.
Bystanders described how the four men and two women spent about half-an-hour singing and shouting as a crowd of people gathered, taking pictures and video on their smart phones.