Rome tourists face hefty fines for snacking on iconic Spanish Steps in unwelcomed news to ears of Audrey Hepburn fans

by Alister POOLE on October 3, 2012

Eating a traditional gelato while sitting on the Spanish Steps might feature at the top of the list of things for tourists to do in the Italian capital Rome, but the activity could now see them hit with a fine of €500 from today onwards.

Visitors wishing to emulate silver screen icon Audrey Hepburn’s performance in the legendary film Roman Holiday are to be slapped with harsh fines under new laws adopted by the city council. The law prohibits tourists from eating pizza, panini, sandwiches or any other similar snacks at many of the famous monuments or architectural treasures located in the historical ‘centro storico’ region of the Eternal City.

Among the attractions included are the Piazza Navona’s marble fountains, which are thronged with street artists, cafés and street restaurants, in addition to the stone walls surrounding the Pantheon, an  ex-Roman temple that was converted into a church, and also the Via dei Fori Imperiali - the ancient Roman arena that gladiators once fought in.

Fines are to range from 25 to 500 euros in what La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper, branded as being a war against sandwiches. Rome city council’s ordinance detailed how it is strictly forbidden for anyone, and not just tourists, to encamp or erect shelters or eat and drink in any zones which have been deemed to have historic or architectural value.

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