Rome is tightening up regulations to deal with badly behaved tourists; including laws on drinking, eating, and taking photos with costumed 'gladiators'. The Italian capital is a city that appears on everybody's bucket list - whether for the historical sites like the Colosseum, or for the incredible fashion, nightlife... and connected to pop culture (including, of course, the ever-popular travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love).
However, an issue with almost every major tourist spot is that of badly behaved visitors. People seem to completely forget what's appropriate as soon as they step off the plane somewhere new, and there are plenty of stories of tourists causing serious damage to popular areas. There are also plenty of different ways to deal with this kind of problem; from arresting backpackers who defaced a wall in Thailand, to the more gentle approach taken by New Zealand, who are encouraging tourists to sign a pledge to take care of their land. Rome is now going for the middle ground, with a series of new, stricter laws aimed at curbing unruly tourist behavior.
The new laws were announced in a statement released earlier this week, and are already enforceable in the city. These regulations cover a range of behaviors that are considered to be inappropriate, including swimming in fountains, taking photos with costumed gladiators, eating in public, or drinking in public after 10pm. Gladiators who dress up, hoping to earn some money from tourists, can now be fined up to €400. Alcohol can no longer be served outside in glass containers between 10pm and 7am, and cannot be served outside at all between midnight and 7am. All alcohol sales must stop at 2am, even indoors.
These rules are designed to protect the city and the tourists, and to curb excessive drinking or mistreatment of historic monuments. City officials have confirmed that the drinking laws may be relaxed for events or festivals, although no specific event has been named as exempt as yet. Official costumed gladiators will also not be affected, as the laws are aimed at those who dress up on the street, not any who are part of attractions.
While plenty of locals are sure to welcome these new stricter regulations, this is not a change that will make every Roman happy. The performers who currently make their living as gladiators on the street are bound to be furious about the new laws, and bar and club owners are unlikely to be happy about the revenue lost from limiting sales after 10pm. However, given the history of Rome, protecting this historic city from the worst kinds of tourism is definitely an important consideration.