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Tourists fined €900 for washing feet in Roman fountain

Two Danish tourists have been hit by fines of 450 euros apiece after stopping to wash their feet in one of Rome's public fountains.

Tourists fined €900 for washing feet in Roman fountain
Piazza Venezia's Altare della Patria, where the tourists were stopped. Photo: Terrazzo/Flickr

Local police stopped the pair – a woman aged 60 and a 17-year-old boy – on Easter Sunday at the Fountain of the Two Seas.

The monument is located in the central Piazza Venezia, close to the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

The tourists had been sitting on the side of the fountain, their legs submerged “up to their knees” in order to cool off from the spring heat, city authorities said. 

“When asked for ID, the two tourists were surprised, convinced that a 'footbath' was allowed,” the city hall said in a statement. “The woman, very annoyed by the steep penalty, said that she would protest at the Danish Embassy.”

The arrest came after an Italian was arrested for taking a nude swim in the iconic Trevi fountain on Wednesday, where police presence has been stepped up and fines for trespassing increased following a 2 million euro restoration of the landmark.

Since January, there have already been ten violations of rules preventing trespassing in Italy's fountains, following 48 such crimes last year.

Security in the capital was beefed up over the Easter weekend, with extra officers stationed at Rome's ports, train stations, and airports as well as at popular tourist sites ahead of the holiday.

READ ALSO: Ten stupid things tourists have done in Italy

Ten stupid things tourists have done in Italy

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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