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Eat all You Want, Just no Near Our Monuments

Rome’s mayor made it illegal to enjoy junk food or snacks on, near or around any of the city’s monuments

October 8, 2012 – Hundreds of thousands of visitors in Rome each year sit on the Spanish Steps enjoying an afternoon gelato or other refreshment. However, starting October 1, enjoying that gelato became potentially very costly, and not because of the price of gelato.

Rome’s mayor made it illegal to enjoy junk food or snacks on, near or around any of the city’s monuments. Tourists can eat as they stroll, but if they stop with their gelato in hand or have a seat on the steps while eating a panino, they may end up being fined anywhere from $30 to $650 (25 to 500 euros).

The local police force, dressed in blue and white uniforms patrol the area looking for visitors or locals who dare to break the new eating law. They scattered a group of tourists near the Colosseum who wanted to enjoy a pizza. Police said that on one morning they had written fines for seven foreign visitors, all were charged the same amount, $65.

Police said that tourists have started to get out of hand with their eating. Some bring tablecloths and plates with forks and knives and set on the steps, while others have been seen cutting watermelons and other fruits near the Piazza Navona fountain.

Tourists seemed upset when told about the new law, as they said there are not signs saying eating is not allowed and if there are carts selling food, it would only seem logical it could be eaten in the same general area.

Local authorities do not believe many fines will be paid since the majority of people fined are foreigners.

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