Lonely Planet Writer

No more eating, drinking, paddling or washing pets in Rome's historic fountains

It’s only a couple of weeks since authorities in Florence announced that they would hose down the steps of historic buildings to deter tourists from eating their lunch there, and now Rome has got tough too by declaring a ban on people eating and drinking by the city’s historic fountains. City mayor, Virginia Raggi, also approved rules banning tourists – and a few locals – from climbing on approximately 15 fountains, swimming in the water or washing pets there during the summer period.

Fountain di Trevi, Rome, Italy. Image: TTstudio/Shutterstock
Fountain di Trevi, Rome, Italy. Image: TTstudio/Shutterstock

Speaking in a Facebook video, the mayor explained that those who flouted the new rules would face fines of up to €240. She warned that Rome’s police have been tasked with monitoring the historic sites more closely, and the ban will remain in place until 31 October. The aim is to protect the historical, artistic and archaeological capital of Rome, she said, and to preserve standards of decorum.

Piazza Navona, Rome. Italy. Image: Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock
Piazza Navona, Rome. Italy. Image: Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock

The regulation applies to the fountains located in Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Piazza Barberini and Piazza del Popolo, as well as those situated in Trastevere’s Piazza Santa Maria and Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. The Trevi fountain is one of the most significant and popular landmarks in the city, and has been affected by the now forbidden behaviours. Although bathing is already not allowed there, it hasn’t deterred everyone from wading into its waters.

Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Italy. Image: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images/Moment RF
Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Italy. Image: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images/Moment RF

Eating and drinking al fresco is also forbidden at other sites around the city, including the historic Spanish Steps. The 500 year-old Barcaccia fountain located there was badly chipped by carousing football supporters in 2015. Under the new rules, nothing can be thrown into the fountains from now on either, although throwing small change into the Trevi fountain is permitted as it’s a long-standing tradition.