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'They're not swimming pools': Tourists told to keep out of Rome's fountains

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'They're not swimming pools': Tourists told to keep out of Rome's fountains
Rome's Trevi Fountain is a magnet for badly-behaved tourists and locals. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
16:59 CEST+02:00
Rome's new 'zero tolerance' policy means anyone caught taking a dip in the fountains may be fined up to €450.

It may be tempting to jump into one of Rome's fountains during the scorching summer months, when the hot and sticky weather in the capital can become almost unbearable.

But after a string of incidents in which people were caught jumping into the city's fountains - many of which are protected historic monuments - Rome's mayor has had enough.

"Our monuments must be respected and Rome's historic fountains are not swimming pools", mayor Virginia Raggi wrote on her Facebook page yesterday.

She posted a video of a man dressed as an ancient Roman senator who was escorted out of the Trevi Fountain by police on Monday and fined 550 euros for the stunt.

The Italian was reportedly staging a protest, rather than cooling off. But Raggi said that Rome's ban on bathing in fountains applied to everyone.

In the post, she pledged a “zero tolerance” approach to "anyone who offends the historical and artistic heritage of the city, which belongs to everyone.”

The culprits are more commonly foreign visitors, who often say they were unaware that swimming in the fountains wasn't allowed.

READ ALSO: From selfie brawls to midnight swims: Tourists behaving badly at Trevi Fountain

Rome's police have fined dozens of tourists since the city recently brought in new penalties. Anyone caught taking a dip can now be fined on the spot and temporarily banned from the area.

Fines for swimming in the fountains have been in place since 2015, but this hasn't stopped determined visitors from attempting to recreate scenes from La Dolce Vita.

A stricter new fountain-bathing ban was introduced this year as part of a raft of new laws intended to combat unruly behaviour in the city centre.

The fines, which are reduced if paid immediately, now range from €160 to €450 for those caught swimming in or climbing on Rome's historic fountains.

Cooling off at a fountain might feel good, but it could cost you. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

There's also a minumum fine of €400 for vandalising historic sites, monuments or churches, brought in to combat long-running problems with vandalism at sites like Rome's Colosseum.

And it's not just Rome. In Milan, a French tourist was charged recently after skinny-dipping in a fountain, while Venice has had to ban people from swimming in the canals.

Following the rule change, the British embassy in Italy posted a warning on its website telling British visitors travelling to Rome not to bathe in fountains in the city – or anywhere else in Italy.

Here are some better ways to stay cool if you're feeling the heat in Italy this summer:

 
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