The city of Rome has banned tourists from sitting on its famous Spanish Steps — and violators can face a fine of up to $A415, according to a new report.
Police began patrolling the 136 steps on Tuesday and blowing whistles at anyone sitting, The Guardian reported. Sitting down, and being caught, will cost you 250 euro or about $A415. If you are caught damaging the steps or making a mess, the fine increases to 400 euro or nearly $A665.
The new restriction was approved in early June, as were other rules that prohibit jumping into fountains, rolling suitcases, walking around without a shirt on or engaging in “messy eating” at monuments, according to The Guardian.
The new rule has some residents upset that people are being banned from merely sitting on the steps, and one local art critic and former deputy minister of culture even characterised it as a “fascist-style provision”.
“Protecting a monument is fine, and obviously you shouldn’t eat on the steps, but the ban on sitting down is really excessive. It seems to me to be a fascist-style provision that the municipality will be forced to review,” Vittorio Sgarbi told AdnKronos, an Italian news agency, per The Guardian.
The steps were built in the 18th century and connect the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church. They are located roughly 15 minutes northeast of the Pantheon on foot.
In 2016, the steps underwent restoration for 1.5 million euro, paid for by the Italian jewellery company Bulgari.
Coffee stains, wine stains and wads of chewing gum were reportedly removed, The Telegraph has reported.
But while tourists can often leave messes, some local residents still don’t like the idea of banning sitting altogether.
Tommaso Tanzilli, a director of the Italian hotels association, told The Guardian, “We agree that people shouldn’t ‘camp out’ and eat on the steps of monuments, as rubbish gets left behind. But criminalising people for sitting down, especially if they are elderly, is a little exaggerated.”
However, there are those who are in favour of the ban, including local businesses.
“This is a small return to civility. To try to check who is damaging the monument by eating and drinking, you would need a police officer for every tourist,” Gianni Battistoni, the president of a local association of businesses, told The Telegraph.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission