Tourists could be fined as much as $280 for sitting on Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps in the wake of controversial new measures being enforced by local authorities to combat overtourism and unruly behavior.
Visitors could also be billed up to $450 for leaving the UNESCO World Heritage Site dirty or damaged.
Unsurprisingly, the new regulation is facing plenty of criticism.
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“We agree that people shouldn’t ‘camp out’ and eat on the steps of monuments, as rubbish gets left behind,” Tommaso Tanzilli, a director at the Rome unit of Federalberghi, the Italian hotels association, told The Guardian. “But criminalizing people for sitting down, especially if they are elderly, is a little exaggerated.”
The monument opened in the mid-1720s but underwent a nearly $1.7 million restoration as recently as 2016.
“The Rome city center is an area protected by UNESCO, so clearly our center is our business ticket,” Mayor Virginia Raggi told the Associated Press earlier this year, adding that there’ll be “zero tolerance for those marring our city.”
The city has also implemented bans on eating and drinking near famous fountains in recent years.
Elsewhere in Italy, tourists also face potentially harsh penalties in Venice, where a pair of German tourists were recently busted and kicked out of the city for using a portable stove on the steps of the famous Rialto Bridge.