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Italy: New Urban Regulations for the City of Rome

(July 17, 2019) On June 20, 2019, the City of Rome enacted new urban police regulations concerning hygiene, decorum, safety, and law enforcement, and established new and increased penalties for violations. (New Urban Police Regulations of the City of Rome (the Regulations), Municipality of Rome website (under “Selezione La Tipologia” choose “Deliberazione Dell’Assemblea Capitolina” and under “Sintesi Oggetto” type in “polizia”; then click “Recerca” and click PDF icon for document No. 43 (in Italian) (note: Regulations page 1 begins at PDF page 31. All page number references are to the PDF page number, located at the top of the document).)

The Rome City Council has recently “updated and expanded a range of regulations, some of which have been on the statute books since 1946.” (Nick Squires, Rome New Rules for Tourists: Ban on Bare Chests, Sucking on Drinking Fountains and Eating in Public, TRAVELLER (June 11, 2019); Urban Police Regulations, Resolution of the Provisional Municipal Board, No. 4047 of November 8, 1946, Roma Capitale website.)

Bathing and Other Improper Uses of Fountains

The Regulations prohibit bathing in historic fountains. Other forbidden uses of fountains include throwing objects, spilling substances, or immersing animals in them, climbing on fountains, or damaging them. (Regulations art. 8(5), at 40.) Protected fountains include the Trevi Fountain, the Leoni Fountain at the Piazza del Popolo, the Barcaccia at the Piazza di Spagna, the “Fontanone” del Gianicolo, and the nasoni (public fountains of Rome). (Id. Annex A, at 84.) The prohibition does not apply to the tradition of throwing coins into some historic fountains, such as the Trevi Fountain. (Id. art. 8(2), at 39.)

Street Prostitution

Other provisions forbid the criminal exploitation of street prostitution, in particular, mandating municipal agencies to offer to affected women work alternatives, psychological support, and social reintegration opportunities. (Id. art. 5(1), at 37.)

A daspo (divieto di accedere alle manifestazioni sportive—ban on access to sporting events to prevent violence at stadiums) is imposed on persons using the services of prostitutes or who publicly engage in obscene behavior. (Id. art. 6(1), at 38.) (Mariano Acquaviva, Daspo: cos’è? [What is a Daspo?], LA LEGGE PER TUTTI (Nov. 8, 2018).)

Centurions, Saltafila, and Unauthorized Sale of Food and Beverages on the Street

The Regulations aim to protect the historical and artistic décor of UNESCO sites located within the Historic Center of Rome. A general prohibition is established for persons who, for photographic purposes, dress as centurions with historical clothing or costumes in areas of historical, artistic, or cultural interest located in the Historic Center of Rome, at UNESCO sites, or at the Villa Borghese. (Regulations art. 15(2), at 43.)

The activities of saltafila are also forbidden. Saltafila are persons who charge tourists a commission for buying them tickets at historic sites or in other public spaces to avoid ticket lines; promote tourist tours; sell tickets for museums, theaters, and cultural and tourist events; promote various commercial activities, such as selling food, beverages, popcorn, and chewing gum; or conduct any other not expressly authorized activity. (Id. art. 15(3), at 43.)

Urban Transportation

The Regulations also prohibit the use of velocipedi (cycles, as defined by Legislative Decree No. 285 of April 30, 1992, NEW TRAFFIC CODE art. 50, Official Gazette website), including rickshaw-type cycles or eco-taxis with three or more wheels (whether pedaled or motorized). (Regulations art. 20(4), at 47.)

Urban Decorum

The Regulations institute special protections for the area of the City of Rome that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including penalties for graffiti and for those who otherwise defile and disfigure these sites. (Id. art. 4(1)(l), at 37.) Also protected from intentional damage are other valuable places, such as schools, hospitals, universities, museums, public green areas, or areas subject to substantial tourist flows. (Id. art. 20(1), at 47.) Other measures fight bivacco (stays in uncovered temporary camps) and punish those who throw cigarette butts in public areas, waters, or drains. (Id. art. 4(1)(b), at 36.)

The Regulations also forbid the unauthorized distribution, posting, and display of leaflets, stickers, and the like in public areas, including on lighting poles and road signs. (Id. art. 4(1)(k), at 36.) Rummaging and unauthorized waste collection are likewise prohibited. (Id. art. 25(1)–(2), at 50.)

Consumption and Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

The Regulations ban the wholesale and retail selling, consuming, serving, and carrying alcoholic beverages throughout the year, not only during the summer months as before. (Id. art. 6(1)(b), at 38.) Tour alcolici (pub crawls or alcohol tours) are also banned. (Id. art. 28(5), at 52.) Except in specific cases expressly authorized by law, the Regulations establish the times for alcohol consumption. (Id. art. 28(1), at 51–52.)

Care and Protection of Animals and Public Parks and Areas

The Regulations include provisions related to the keeping and care animals. Animal owners must carry bags for the collection of excrement to preserve the beauty of sidewalks, public parks and areas. (Id. art. 10(2), at 41, & art. 24(e), at 49.)