Laws passed to protect Rome's monuments (2012 - 2019)


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October 13th 2020
Saved: November 13th 2020
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In 2012 mayor Gianni Alemanno's government passed a law banning the eating of pizza, sandwiches, panini and other snacks. It also banned visitors from drinking on historic monuments.

This law also applied to other culturally significant areas in the historic centre of Rome, including the Eternal city, the marble fountains of Piazza Navona, the stone walls which surround the Pantheon, and Via dei fosi Imperiali. ( 23 Oct, 2012, Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times ''Buon Appetito, but Not Next to the Monuments'') Fines of between €25 and €500 were handed out for each infringement.

The application of the so-called Urban Daspo, a legal measure which came into force in Rome, in April 2017, with which the mayors, in collaboration with the Prefect, are allowed to sanction the guilty party and then deny him or her access to certain areas of the city for 48 hours. If the guilty party reoffends he or she can be reported to the Questore who can apply the Daspo for up to 60 days. (7 June 2019, Comune Roma, ''Urban Police, the Urban daspo new regulation comes into force'')

Prohibitions were made and penalties were handed out to people who decided to bathe in one of the historic fountains of Rome, or who used them improperly, by throwing objects and spilling liquids or substances onto them, immersing animals in them, damaging them, or by climbing or lying on the fountains. (12 June 2017, La Repubblica)

These laws applied to the Trevi Fountain, the Leoni fountain at the Piazza del Popolo, the Barcaccia at the Piazza di Spagna
(12 June 2017, La Repubblica) These also applied to the 'Fontanone' del Gianicolo and the nasoni (public fountains of Rome.) (17 July 2017, Dante Figueroa, ''Italy: New Urban Regulations for the City of Rome)

In June 2019 Rome' s government, which is controlled by the Five Star Movement and led by Mayor Virginia Raggi, put into force new rules regarding the protection of Rome's fountains.

These new Urban Police Regulations came into force on 8 July 2019. These laws were an updated version of the legislation drafted in 1946. (7 June 2019, Comune Roma, ''Urban Police, the Urban daspo new regulation comes into force'')

The goals of the laws passed in 2019 were to guarantee decorum, safety and legality, and aim to promote respect, both by citizens and tourists, for common goods and spaces. (7 June 2019, Comune Roma, ''Urban Police, the Urban daspo new regulation comes into force'')

These laws passed in 2019 meant that tourists were no longer allowed to go down the steps and enter the water. The regulations also prohibited visitors from sitting, lying down or climbing on the city's fountains, including the Trevi fountain. It also banned visitors from sitting on the Spanish steps.

Penalties for graffiti were toughened, as were those for the out-of-hour consumption and sale of alcohol. Also, the new regulations saw tighter enforcement of prostitution laws, the use of rickshaws and the mistreatment of animals. (7 June 2019, Comune Roma, ''Urban Police, the Urban daspo new regulation comes into force'')

€400 fines were handed out to those who broke the law and also municipal police officers would enforce the rules by blowing their whistles twice and gesturing people to stand up, if they were sitting down. (7 Aug 2019, Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times ''Rome's New Rules : No Sitting on the Spanish Steps and No Wading in the Trevi Fountain)

It is also illegal to attempt to collect any money from the fountain once the coins have hit the water. Attempts have been made by locals and tourists, and this always results in heavy fines or legal actions.

One such case was that of Roberto Cercelleta, whose thieving at the fountain started in 1968. He would go there 6 days a week, under the cover of early-morning darkness with a rake and magnet in his hands. For 15 minutes work he would occasionally gain more than 800 euros worth of coins, according to police officials who arrested him in 2002, after 34 years of thieving. (7 Aug 2002, Frank Bruni, ''The New York Times'')

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