Well, one thing the world doesn’t need is you slopping your gelato all over the Spanish Steps. And now, authorities are taking action to ensure that it doesn’t happen, and that the Eternal City doesn’t get all sticky and goopy.
Rome has banned snacking in public. You can apparently walk and eat (assuming you can walk and chew at the same time) without breaking the new law, but you can’t have a seat near some of the city’s historic landmarks in the “centro storico” and enjoy your pizza, panino or gelato. If you do, you could get whacked with a fine as high as 500 euros. The historic “no snacking zones” include the marble fountains of Piazza Navona, the stone walls around the Pantheon and Via dei Fori Imperiali near the Colosseum.
Romans are calling the new law “the War on the Sandwich.”
Mayor Giovanni Alemanno told the press that he’s fed up with “episodes in contrast with the most elementary norms of urban decorum.” He said that those heinous snack-devouring hoodlums have “damaged monuments and artistic fountains…by dangerously dripping liquids” on them.
And one Roman police officer told NBC News that he “once caught a tourist chopping a watermelon in the fountain at Piazza Navona … Now we have a way to stop them.”
So, at least Rome is now safe from marauding snackers. But, if Rome remains strict in how it enforces the new law (seven people were arrested and fined in the first couple of hours of the new law), it seems like a real shame. Rome is one of the great food cities in the world, and also one of the great walk-around-and-experience-culture cities in the world. Do they really want to drive a wedge into that reputation?
Photo by Bonnie Bogle.