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MAYOR

Rome mulls hiking fines for fountain dips

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino is considering increasing fines for those caught jumping into the city’s fountains as part of a plan that will also see €50,000 injected into sprucing the treasured monuments up.

Rome mulls hiking fines for fountain dips
It's tempting, but....don't do it! Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Fifty of the capital’s fountains, including the Barcaccia fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, will be restored between now and the end of September, Marino said on Tuesday.

“Rome has the luck of having dozens of historic fountains and we have decided to restore the top 50,” Marino was quoted by Ansa as saying.

“We want to make our city increasingly beautiful and the fountains play a role in decorum and in the welcoming of tourists.”

The mayor also sent out clear message that taking a dip in the fountains is not free, regardless of how hot it is.

Fines are already almost a couple of hundreds euros – the Italian actress Valeria Marini was fined €160 in 2014 for stepping into the Trevi in a bid to mimic the famous Anita Ekberg scene in ‘La Dolce Vita’ – and now Marino said he would propose increasing them.

Frustrated Rome residents have also started to take to the internet to shame tourists they spot taking a splash. Alluring though the monuments are, especially in the searing heat, little do they know that it's against the law.

Read more: Tourists in hot water for Rome fountain dips

Those caught throwing rubbish into the monuments will also be fined.

The Barcaccia fountain was trashed earlier this year by drunk fans of the Dutch football team Feyenoord, costing the city thousands of euros in repairs.

Marino has sprung into action following a slew of negative headlines about some of the city’s rubbish-strewn streets and chronic transport problems.

The government also said on Tuesday that €18 million would be earmarked to rebuild the Colosseum's arena floor.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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