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Tourist fined after midnight swim in Rome fountain

A French tourist was hit with a €450 fine this weekend after he fell foul of city laws aimed at curbing drunken behaviour.

Tourist fined after midnight swim in Rome fountain
The fountain in Rome's Piazza Santa Maria is believed to be the oldest in Rome. Photo: Depositphotos

Rome's city police apprehended and fined the 35-year-old French man when they found him swimming in a historic fountain in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Despite the cold and wet weather over the weekend the man had decided to go for a dip in the historic Santa Maria fountain in Trastevere, believed to be Rome's oldest.

City police showed up and took the swimmer to a nearby police station, where he was fined under city laws cracking down on drunken behaviour, which includes swimming in city fountains.

People eating and drinking in Trastevere's main square. Photo: Depositphotos

Rome's city police are carrying out about a thousand checks and interventions a week as they crack down on street drinking and unruly behaviour in the city, mostly around Trastevere, Piazza Bologna, San Lorenzo, and in the historic centre.

Drinking outdoors after 9pm is currently banned in Trastevere, as well as in many other notorious nightlife spots including San Lorenzo, Esquilino, Piazza Bologna and the vicinity of Termini Station.

Off-licences, supermarkets and vending machines in these areas are prohibited from selling alcohol after 9pm, and bars can't sell alcohol at all between 2am and 7am.

The laws also ban things like pub crawls, dressing up as a centurion, and “slovenly eating”.

Hundreds of new vigili urbani (city police) have been employed to enforce the rules since they came in last November.

While many in Italy view them as little more than traffic wardens, in Rome the city police, which enforce local government rules, have the power to hand out fines and ban people from public areas.

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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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