Goodbye legend: tourists are expelled from the Spanish Steps in Rome
The Italian authorities did not deny themselves the pleasure of arranging a demonstration flogging for eminent newlyweds. They really were guilty, because during a visit to the famous Blue Grotto they climbed to swim, which is strictly forbidden there. But this incident has one more aspect – in 2019, dozens of offensive restrictions for tourists came into force in Italy, but the authorities so far have very carefully applied punitive measures. The fine for a world-famous model served as a warning to everyone else: do not test the patience of the police!
A young father with a one-year-old child descends the Spanish Steps in Rome. The kid is in one hand, the stroller is in the other, the man carefully steps over the steps, but a polite policeman nevertheless approaches him. “Sorry, sir, the wheels of the stroller can touch the marble steps, and since last week a fine of as much as 400 euros has been imposed.” On the other hand, a sharp, demanding whistle is heard when his partner makes an elderly couple of tourists rise. It is difficult for old people to go through all 136 steps at a time, but they no longer have a choice. Sitting on the Spanish Steps is now strictly prohibited!
Paradoxical of this situation is the fact that there are few people who walk around this historic landmark; more often people come here just to sit. As it has been done for centuries in a row, the inhabitants of Rome themselves, characters of famous books and films, tourists of past years. However, the same could be said about the sides of the fountains, pedestals of monuments, and other architectural elements of the Eternal City. Tourists mumbled hot dogs and stained ketchup with millennial marble for a very long time, until in 2012, Mayor Gianni Alemanno issued a decree expressly prohibiting it. Since then, the nuts have been tightened and by August 2019 the situation has reached a threatening limit.
There are few people who go to this historic attraction, they come here more often just to sit
Today, a tourist in Rome can not take off his shirt, for topless immediately a fine to any gender. You can get drunk from the fountain only from a glass or your own handful – do not even think of approaching the water with your dirty mouth! You can’t eat on the street, outside the cafe. Sitting, except on the benches, too. Swimming in the fountain, of course, is forbidden, but in Rome you can at least still scoop up the water and cool the brow in the heat, while in Venice it’s better not to put your hands in the water. And you can not put, put or move along the old steps no objects, including suitcases on wheels. Fines from 250 euros per attempt to sit down a notch up to 400 euros per drop of ice cream stuck to the stone – they say, damage to property.
It’s easy to convict a tourist of sabotage, a couple of years ago the Spanish Steps were thoroughly restored for 1.5 million euros, so that all new traces stand out like a thorn in the eye. But while the police show angelic patience and only drive, with whistles and affectionate words, negligent guests of the city, an unspoken moratorium has been imposed on the collection of fines. Most tourists safely missed all the news and are sincerely perplexed when strict people in uniform explain the new rules to them. But the result is evident, the staircase once filled with sitting people is rapidly emptying.
The Romans themselves are twofold in innovation. On the one hand, they are entirely for restricting this entire tourist outskirts to the brink of rudeness, from which the historical center suffered for decades in a row. Let only law-abiding tourists who spend money in official cafes, rather than sponsor the activities of street charlatans, remain better. And, on the other hand, to prohibit a tired traveler from crouching down a notch — it already gives away overtly fascism, you know. So you can scare away all the guests of Rome, forever ruining the reputation of a tourist center.