Lonely Planet Writer

Tourist's skinny-dip in Rome fountain angers locals

A tourist who went skinny-dipping in one of the most famous fountains in Rome has triggered an angry response from locals who say they are fed up with the “shameful” treatment that their city’s cultural heritage gets from visitors.

The fountain where a naked man was
The 17-th century Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Rome where a naked man went for a dip and was cheered on by drunken onlookers, much to the annoyance of locals  Image by David McSpadden / CC BY 2.0

In an online video posted this week, a naked man can be seen emerging from the renowned seventeenth century Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi fountain to a background of laughter and applause from onlookers.

The Colosseum, Rome and other major attraction should be protected from rowdy and drunken tourists according to local citizens
The Colosseum, Rome and other major attraction should be protected from rowdy and drunken tourists according to local citizens Image by Anna Fox / CC BY 2.0

While it appeared as fun to the tourists in the area at the time, Nathalie Naim, a local councillor took the opposite view.

According to the UK Guardian newspaper, she published a clip in which she said that a naked person entertained himself in the fountain totally oblivious to the dismay of passersby.

The public representative said it was clear from the voices on the video that they were made up of drunken friends of the naked man and “other hooligans besieging places in the grip of alcohol”.

In her view, she said the person taking the bath was from a North European country although later media outlets in Italy suggested that the person may have been an England rugby supporter in Rome for the Six Nations game against Italy.

However while police authorities were unable to confirm the bather’s nationality, the incident has raised an age-old problem of how Rome’s unique heritage can be protected from the people who visit and debase the city in such a manner.

Last year, football fans from the Netherlands ran amok through the city’s historical centre and caused damage to the Barcaccia Fountain, which had recently been restored.

The Trevi fountain has undergone a €2.2million revamp which was financed by the fashion house, Fendi and is kept under close watch by authorities.