Will Rome restrict access to Trevi Fountain to stop unruly tourists?

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Will Rome restrict access to Trevi Fountain to stop unruly tourists?
Every summer brings reports of tourists swimming in and climbing on Rome's Trevi Fountain and other historic monuments. Now, local politicans say it's time to crack down. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

There were renewed calls to limit access to the Trevi Fountain this week after videos showed a man diving off the 18th-century monument to a round of applause.


Italian authorities have long warned visitors that Rome’s monumental fountains are not for swimming in, but now local politicians say “the time has come to restrict access to the Trevi fountain” as rules are being ignored.

Rome's tourism councillor on Friday called on the Italian government to limit access and prevent people from swimming in or climbing on the historical monument, after videos shared online showed a man diving off the side of the Trevi Fountain into the waters below last Thursday.

Calling it an “indecent spectacle”, Tourism Councillor Alessandro Onorato said in a video statement that the incident was “yet another tourist making a mockery of the historical and cultural heritage of our city and our rules.”

Italian newspaper La Repubblica shared the video, noting that other visitors did not intervene, and reported that both Italian and foreign tourists instead filmed the stunt on their phones.

Onorato said laughter and "complicit applause" the man received from the crowd was also "very concerning".

The man turned out not to be a tourist but a local resident who had already been fined for a similar stunt and given a 'Daspo' - an anti-social behaviour order banning him from the area - once before, according to national broadcaster Rai.

He reportedly received another fine of 450 euros after being stopped by police on Thursday.

READ ALSO: ‘Selfies and ignorance’: Italy’s Colosseum slams badly-behaved tourists

Onorato urged the Italian government to provide “concrete help” to stop unruly behaviour and said “fines from police and the numerous appeals for common sense are no longer enough.”

“Tourists cannot do whatever they want with impunity, respect is required and we really must preserve the most precious places in the world,” he said.

(Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)


Onorato said the “most appropriate solution” would have to be decided with local safety authorities and government ministries.

This is far from the first time Rome's politicians have called for access to the Trevi Fountain to be restricted.

A previous plan to erect a one-metre-high glass and steel barrier around the fountain to protect it from unruly visitors was abandoned in 2020 after arts and heritage experts called the idea “foolish”.

Every summer, hapless tourists face fines of hundreds of euros after falling foul of Rome’s strict ban on taking a dip in public fountains.

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

Since 2015, a city ordinance has provided for fines of up to 450 euros for anyone caught swimming in or otherwise misbehaving on Rome’s historic fountains.

And under nationwide laws, anyone found to have damaged the centuries-old Baroque monuments - or any other site of historical and artistic interest in Italy - could be prosecuted and face a fine of up to €15,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.


These penalties may soon become harsher, as ministers in April approved plans to increase the maximum fines.

Several people risked prosecution in July after a spate of incidents in which visitors to the Colosseum were caught carving their names or initials into the wall of the ancient monument.


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Kris 2023/08/01 05:02
If Daspo was fined €15,000 or received a prison sentence the first time, there would be less likely to be a second time. Paying €450 both times, odds are there will be a third from the attention seeker. If the Italian Government is serious about protecting their untold amount of beautiful monuments, they need to be tough with fines, otherwise the feral population will continue to disregard how precious these sites are, for their insta & likes.

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