Travel Series: Navigating Rome during the tourist season - New Rules!
One budding and inquisitive traveler does not have to search far this summer for a plethora of online articles and the impending bloviating comments about Rome’s new tourist rules. In fact, I had to remove myself from a few online arguments from tourists actually against the new regulations. (Yes, I fell down that rabbit hole!)
So what are the changes everyone is talking about?
This summer Rome set forth a new set of rules that make common sense. The new rules are clearly aimed at tourists and for good reason. (More on that later).
If you have been to Rome say… oh … I don’t know … anytime in the last fifty years … then you know that Rome is in fact a tourist city. Rome depends on the income from enthusiastic tourists all parading thru the cobblestone streets clumsily looking at their hotel maps and occasionally stopping to see what’s in front of them.
Personally, I love it. A tourist city for me is exiting, new everyday, and can be inspirational many times with so many beautiful and historic monuments around every corner.
So that brings me back to the topic at hand: Restoring decorum in the eternal city. Rome set into place a new Italian-wide decree to manage poor behavior among tourists. The goal of course is to create a better living environment for not only the people who actually live in Rome but other well-behaved tourists as well.
Over the years there has been a noticeably steady decline of behavior of people that visit historic sites around Rome & other cities. Some of the most common infractions Rome is cracking down on is people that feel the need to jump into fountains, throw their trash on the ground, messy eaters, loiterers and men walking around with no shirts on. (Sorry ladies)
One of the best new regulations (in my humble opinion) is the crackdown on illegal street trading and pan-handling. Overzealous street vendors pushing cheap scarves, knock-off sunglasses, light up twirly zippers and everything in between is now frowned upon.
Additionally, and with some controversy, sitting on the Spanish Steps in also banned. Personally I never found people resting or sitting on the Spanish Steps offensive or obtrusive. That said, it is annoying when tourists drag their luggage and prams up and down the steps with no consideration for anyone else - banned!
Since all this was announced the critics within the online sector have not been shy. For the most part however I have read more comments and talked to people that fully support the new measures then do not support it. If anyone has actually spent any time in Rome during the tourist season (May - August) then you quickly realize how things can get out of control with the masses of people that flood the city each year.
So what’s next? Well my opinion is quite simple on this matter. Next time you are in Rome, or any other city for that matter … show a little decorum and civility. Remember that these are not just pretty sites you are seeing but actual historical and cultural monuments that people like me and other Italians hold in high regard.
*After reading a number of online articles about the new rules I am still unclear as to the actual monetary penalty for breaking any of these new guidelines.