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No sitting on the spanish steps

No sitting on the spanish steps

Old Aug 8, 19, 9:02 am
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No sitting on the spanish steps

Sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome is now subject to a fine of 400 euros, or about $450, under new municipal rules that ban a variety of activities in the city’s historic center. Another activity banned is splashing in Trevi Fountain.
Source: NYTimes
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Old Aug 8, 19, 10:06 am
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I understand not splashing in the fountain. I don't understand not sitting on the stairs. For the decades I've been traveling to Rome, the steps seem to be a place for young backpackers to take a rest break. Are so many are doing it that they block passage to those walking up and down them?
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Old Aug 8, 19, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I understand not splashing in the fountain. I don't understand not sitting on the stairs. For the decades I've been traveling to Rome, the steps seem to be a place for young backpackers to take a rest break. Are so many are doing it that they block passage to those walking up and down them?
From the same article in the NYT
"The Rome newspaper Il Messaggero said Wednesday that photographs of empty stairs “were not an image of strength, but of desolation.” The newspaper accused the mayor of trying to apply “Swiss rigor” to what was a quintessentially Roman spot for relaxation."

"Dozens of startled people, most of them presumably tourists, were reprimanded on a broiling Wednesday afternoon by a small force of municipal police officers — this reporter counted at least eight — who admonished step-sitters by blowing twice on their whistles and gesturing stiffly to stand up."
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Old Aug 8, 19, 12:53 pm
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The Steps are the place you meet up with your friends who have gone in different directions sightseeing. You sit and wait, maybe with a gelato. Where are these folks supposed to hang out? This is very tourist unfriendly.
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Old Aug 8, 19, 1:05 pm
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"Swiss rigor" is a desire of certain Northern Italians. The mayors of Rome have tried to turn the world's greatest city into Zurich before. Fines for people eating on the street comes to mind. That didn't last long. This won't either.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 6:39 pm
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As someone who travels to Rome several times a year for work and who lived there back in the ‘80’s, I’ve seen a steady decline of behavior by foreign tourists in recent years. It’s a problem with messy eating, leaving garbage on the steps, camping on the steps and sleeping on the steps. On some days, one can’t even find a pathway to get up or down the steps between the selfie photographers, the garbage, the sleepers, the campers and everyone else just trying to get a little rest and take in the view. And the worst of it is the few causing all the problems and trashing the place would not do so in their own countries but feel free to trash Italian landmarks.



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Old Aug 9, 19, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by AA100k View Post
...{long snip}...And the worst of it is the few causing all the problems and trashing the place would not do so in their own countries but feel free to trash Italian landmarks.
This last sentence describes the quintessence of all problems created by mass tourism anywhere in the world; be that in Italy, Greece, China, Thailand, Patagonia, Tanzania, you name it, some tourists think that by paying to visit a foreign country they get the right to be disrespectful and abusive to both local people and their customs as well as the environment, 24 hours a day...
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Old Aug 9, 19, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I understand not splashing in the fountain. I don't understand not sitting on the stairs. For the decades I've been traveling to Rome, the steps seem to be a place for young backpackers to take a rest break. Are so many are doing it that they block passage to those walking up and down them?
From my experience yes, they are blocking passage and not just in the summer. And it is not just a rest break, it is hanging out and drinking and leaving the trash after they are done.

The behavior has gotten worse ó I have been traveling to Rome since the late 80s when I first went as an undergrad. Some years I was in Rome 3-4 times a year but it has been at least annually since that period.

The amount of trash that is left has gotten worse and the generally disrespectful behavior has increased.

I support this legislation but it is depressing that it had to come to this.


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Old Aug 10, 19, 6:26 am
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The crowds and the mess on the Spanish Steps have gotten worse over the years, way more at some times of the year than at other times of the year.

When it comes to the banning of people sitting out on the Steps who may be enjoying BYO food/drink and/or waiting for a meet-up, I suspect that the result may be more people crowding commercial food/beverage-serving interests in the area. Personally, I would prefer a nice outside place to wait without being made to “over-consume” food/beverages — at least when the weather is suitable.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Personally, I would prefer a nice outside place to wait without being made to ďover-consumeĒ food/beverages ó at least when the weather is suitable.
All one has to do is climb the Spanish Steps to the top and turn left and youíre in Villa Borghese - a great park where you can have all that.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by arttravel View Post


From my experience yes, they are blocking passage and not just in the summer. And it is not just a rest break, it is hanging out and drinking and leaving the trash after they are done.

The behavior has gotten worse ó I have been traveling to Rome since the late 80s when I first went as an undergrad. Some years I was in Rome 3-4 times a year but it has been at least annually since that period.

The amount of trash that is left has gotten worse and the generally disrespectful behavior has increased.

I support this legislation but it is depressing that it had to come to this.


I was there about a month ago and had a very hard time starting at the top and walking all the way down the steps. There were so many people that I had to zig zag around them. The steps in places are slippery (and ok, I wore the wrong shoes) and I would have liked to have access to the sides to hold on but I couldn't as people sat right along the sides. I have no idea if they were tourists or locals and yes, I did see some trash---not tons but there should not be any.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by AA100k View Post

All one has to do is climb the Spanish Steps to the top and turn left and youíre in Villa Borghese - a great park where you can have all that.
Indeed, while still allowed. But as a place for non-locals to meet up, parks ó that one too ó present problems that a more constrained place with greater public line of sight visibility doesnít.

Having just been on a hunt to try to meet up with separated travel party members in a park area much smaller than Villa Borghese, I would say that relatively large parks are a recipe to have greater trouble meeting up than a site that has one way in and one way out where visibility isnít as obstructed as in a park full of trees and other tall shrubs.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 5:40 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post


Indeed, while still allowed. But as a place for non-locals to meet up, parks ó that one too ó present problems that a more constrained place with greater public line of sight visibility doesnít.

Having just been on a hunt to try to meet up with separated travel party members in a park area much smaller than Villa Borghese, I would say that relatively large parks are a recipe to have greater trouble meeting up than a site that has one way in and one way out where visibility isnít as obstructed as in a park full of trees and other tall shrubs.
Villa Borghese resembles more a park than a jungle so the visibility is good. Itís not an enormous park and it has a lot of landmarks within it that are well known and easy to spot. But if thatís not appealing, there are plenty of other famous landmarks in the historical center of Rome where which one could meet up and sit down while waiting. I often meet people at the Trevi Fountain, which is close to the Spanish Steps or another fun meet up is at the Pantheon (where one can grab some steps to sit at near the fountain) and listen to excellent street musicians.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 5:55 pm
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According to the article referenced in the OP, the shopkeepers who cheered the new rules didn't quite get what they bargained for:
***

But the shopkeepers in Piazza di Spagna, at the base of the steps, applauded the new rules.

Like many Italian cities, Rome is an open-air museum that asks little of its visitors except civility, said David Sermoneta, the president of the Piazza di Spagna Trinitŗ dei Monti Association. “You couldn’t walk around the Metropolitan Museum snacking on food and slurping a Coke,” he said. “We expect the same for the center of Rome.”

Still, with the steps off limits, shopkeepers have had to hire private guards to keep tourists from sitting on the shops’ stoops to eat, Mr. Sermoneta said. “Pasta, ice cream, panini — it was becoming unsustainable,” he said.

***
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Old Aug 10, 19, 9:03 pm
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Originally Posted by AA100k View Post

Villa Borghese resembles more a park than a jungle so the visibility is good. Itís not an enormous park and it has a lot of landmarks within it that are well known and easy to spot. But if thatís not appealing, there are plenty of other famous landmarks in the historical center of Rome where which one could meet up and sit down while waiting. I often meet people at the Trevi Fountain, which is close to the Spanish Steps or another fun meet up is at the Pantheon (where one can grab some steps to sit at near the fountain) and listen to excellent street musicians.
If you were ever to be looking for a small child who got lost and knows to stay stationary when the child notices the parent isnít visible/proximate, then which place is easier for the parent to find a waiting lost child: the Spanish Steps or Villa Borghese?

As I see it, a park area that is akin to a square of .5 miles on each side is a more difficult place to find someone than a bunch of steps that are an easily remembered and found landmark and that provides visibility to conduct a search in a way a park of Villa Borgheseís size just doesnít. Surely someone could use a named F&B venue as a place to meet up or a landmark in a park of trees and shrubs, but that may not fly over as well for one or more reasons as the Spanish Steps.

But this all doesnít matter, as what is driving such a ban on loitering on the Steps has nothing to do with trying to help people find each other. It seems to come in the bigger vein of frustration from suffering large crowds of tourists and too many tourists behaving just as badly as some locals do during crowded festivals/events.

Itís sort of interesting how a place that wanted more tourists (and welcomed more of that) can end up with extremely frustrated locals who got more than that which they expected. For example, some places that got few or no big international cruise ships may at first have local business interests wanting a few more big boats (or as many as they can get), but when they get what they want, they donít want all that they get with it. And by the time an action is taken against a problem of this sort, itís akin to trying to treat a symptom of a disease at the expense of treating the disease itself.
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