Sitting on Rome’s Spanish Steps can lead to hefty fines

Travel

(CNN) — Visitors to Rome’s famous Spanish Steps looking to take a load off will need to keep on walking.

And the fines are not insignificant. Starting at 250 euros ($280), tourists may be charged upwards of 400 euros ($448) if they’ve soiled or damaged the steps in any way.

Restoration — at a cost of some €1.5 million — of the Spanish Steps was finished in October 2016. Bulgari, an Italian luxury brand, footed the massive cleaning effort while it celebrated its 130th anniversary.
This scene would earn sitters significant fines under new rules in Rome.

This scene would earn sitters significant fines under new rules in Rome.

Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

Visitors to Rome’s cultural hotspots, including the Spanish Steps, have not been able to eat or drink with impunity for years on the monuments’ grounds, but the sitting or lounging fine is a new addition.

Simone Amorico, CEO of Access Italy, a private tour operator, sees the law as necessary. “The situation,” he says, noting the increase in visitors to the Spanish Steps, “is getting out of control.”

While some recent moves seem to be a direct attempt to curb overtourism, this particular fine is aimed squarely at preservation.

Park benches, sidewalk cafes and terraces welcome tired travelers, encouraging guests to sit and stay awhile.

Historic monuments, however, serve a different purpose, one that does not invite weary travelers to relax in the space but rather to respect it.

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