Yaron Steinbuch of the New York Post writes a great report on the new tourist laws in Rome. Security Official, Marco Cardilli, sums it all up beautifully at the end of the article:
When in Rome, don’t dress up as a Roman centurion – and don’t eat like a pig near monuments – if you don’t want to run afoul of new quality-of-life laws.
Authorities decided to crack down on the unregulated centurions, who turned the areas near the famed Colosseum and Trevi Fountain into Rome’s version of Times Square with its annoying costumed characters.
New rules updated from legislation dating back to 1946 ban men from hounding tourists for money by posing with them while dressed up in tunics and leather breastplates while brandishing plastic swords, the UK’s Guardian reports.
“They came up with an anti-centurion decree because of a bunch of rotten apples,” Daniele Di Porto, 44, told the Wall Street Journal after being chased away from the 2,000-year-old Colosseum after nine years. On Friday, the city enacted a new set of rules that allow police – who could already fine centurions up to 400 euros, or about $450 – to ban them from the Town Center for as long as two months.
Police have chased the centurions down Via dei Fori Imperiali, the large boulevard that leads up to the Colosseum, and launched surprise raids to confiscate their costumes.
“The cops are down there,” said centurion Andrea Terlizzi, 43, told the Journal recently as he pointed to streets next to the Colosseum. “We all have to work somehow.”
On a recent weekend, US tourist Marc Jacobson agreed to hand over his camera to have his photo taken with a centurion, but didn’t realize he’d be charged for it.
After he refused to fork over the dough, “they made me delete the pictures,” he said.
Even tourists dressed up as gladiators are fair game for the cops.
Spaniard Remi Sanz, who was in Rome for his bachelor party, had no idea that his outfit might land him in trouble as he hung out near the Trevi Fountain on Friday.
“We just dressed up like this for fun,” he told the Guardian. “So long as I don’t make a disturbance, I guess I’ll be OK. The bad thing would be to get drunk while dressed like this. I can understand such rules and I’m glad to know about them now.”
“Messy” eaters also face action for grossing others out near monuments.
“This is against the law now?” said Giuseppe, a visitor from central Italy, as he devoured his pizza while standing by a church near the fountain.
“I didn’t know, but I think it’s a good thing. They have a similar law in Venice. You shouldn’t be eating by monuments and making a mess,” he told the news outlet.
It was unclear whether people will be penalized for such transgressions or just get a scolding from police patrolling historic sites.
But authorities have promised “severe fines” for those caught taking a dip in the city’s fountains.
Other rules include bans on wheeled suitcases being pulled down historic staircases, walking around bare-chested, “nuisance drunks,” singing on public transportation — as well as wrapping your mouth around the nozzles of drinking fountains.
“Old regulations have been updated to adapt to the needs of a modern society,” security official Marco Cardilli told the Guardian.
- Yaron Steinbuch