The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 08, 2019 1:00 am

Rome passes tough law for tourists' bad behavior

Associated Press

ROME – Too much Dolce Vita can get you banned from Rome, where the mayor Friday ushered in a permanent get-tough approach on boorish behavior by tourists and those Romans who exploit them.

Exasperated by tourists who frolic in Rome's public fountains, vandalize its monuments and treat its landmarks as their own personal living rooms, the city famous for its artistic heritage and easy-going lifestyle has had enough.

The Italian capital's first populist mayor, Virginia Raggi, presented a law banning bad behavior including eating or drinking or climbing on monuments, walking around partially unclothed and wading through fountains – the latter temptation made famous by Anita Ekberg, who danced in the city's Baroque Trevi Fountain in Federico Fellini's classic film immortalizing Rome's carefree spirit.

While many of the measures already existed in temporary form or were rarely enforced, a unanimous city council vote on Thursday night made them permanent. And there's a new twist: disobeying these rules means local authorities can exile the badly behaved from the city's historic center for 48 hours.

“The Rome city center is an area protected by UNESCO, so clearly our center is our business ticket,” Raggi told The AP in an interview in which she promised “zero tolerance for those marring our city.”

Rome's law joins a raft of efforts by tourist-clogged cities around the world to regulate their behavior or limit their numbers.

Florence last year issued an ordinance calling for fines as high as $575 for visitors who eat on sidewalks or in doorways at meal times near its landmark Uffizi Galleries. Venice in the past has banned tourists from eating in St. Mark's Square unless they eating or drinking at the square's pricey cafes.

In France, the Louvre Museum in Paris closed for a day after workers said the crowds were too big to handle. In Amsterdam, the city plans to ban guided tours of the red-light district.

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