Rome Bans Tourists from Sitting on Spanish Steps

by Jessica Montevago
Rome Bans Tourists from Sitting on Spanish Steps

Officials say the move is designed to help preserve the UNESCO heritage site. Photo: Shutterstock

Once a place to relax and take in the city, tourists are no longer permitted to sit on Rome’s famed Spanish Steps.

City authorities imposed a new rule preventing people from sitting or lying on one of the 136 marble steps, saying people sit down for too long, obstruct the steps for others, or stop to eat lunch.

Police have taken to blowing whistles at tourists who have not yet been informed of the restriction.  

While the law has been in effect since July 8, it wasn't until this week that police officers in yellow vests were deployed to the Spanish Steps to visibly enforce it.

Fines for those who do not obey could cost anywhere from €250 ($280) for simply sitting down to €400 ($448) for dirtying or damaging the steps.

Officials say they are trying to preserve the UNESCO heritage site, which was built in the 18th century and lead up to the Trinità dei Monti church. The Spanish Steps underwent a €1.5m restoration in 2016.

The ban joins a number of other regulations aimed at maintaining monuments and other cultural sites as the number of tourists’ boom. Visitors to Rome are also prohibited from “messy eating” near monuments and jumping into fountains, including the iconic Trevi Fountain.

Other rules include bans on wheeled suitcases and buggies being dragged down historic staircases, walking around bare-chested, and pub crawls.

The news comes as Venice recently announced it will stop letting huge cruise ships dock in the city's historic center.

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