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Plinio Lepri/AP
Tourists refresh in a funtain in front of the Spanish Steps in downtown Rome (AP)

Rome Bans Snacks at Historic Sites, Italy's Latest Thrust of Conservativism

July 18, 2008 01:34 PM
by Rachel Balik
City Hall bans snacking near monuments in historic Rome as part of larger effort to clean up the city.

30-Second Summary

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As part of an effort to clean up the city of Rome and protect its historic monuments, the city has passed an ordinance banning snacking near historic tourist sites. People who might otherwise have purchased food from carts or brought their own snacks to fuel a day’s worth of activities will now be stuck at pricy cafés. “It’s just another way to rip tourists off,” a 22-year-old Maryland student declared.

Other tourists understand the impulse to keep the city clean, but suggest that it would be better for the city to focus on monitoring trash and preventing littering than to ban food and drink. “If they don’t allow tourists to have, say, a cappuccino, a gelato or a sandwich near a monument, that’s unfortunate,” one traveler said.

The ordinance also has strict rules pertaining to homeless people, forbidding them from putting bedding in the streets or being drunk in public. Police will also keep a tighter rein on noisy groups who loiter in busy public areas at night.

The ordinance was facilitated by newly elected “neo-fascist” Mayor Gianni Alemanno. Alemanno ran on a platform promising to rid the city of immigrants and gypsies, or “Roma.” His efforts coincide with those of the national government, which in July decided to begin fingerprinting all people who appeared to be immigrants and lack proper EU identification.

That policy has earned condemnation from the UN, which has expressed concern that it promotes racism and discrimination. And the law’s confluence with the antisnacking ordinance has blogger wondering, “What the Hell is Going On in Italy?” He says, “I had no idea that Italy was still so backwards on such matters.”

Headline Link: ‘Cappucci-No: Rome bans snacks at tourist sites’

Background: Increasingly conservative policy in Italy and Rome

Opinion & Analysis: ‘What the Hell is Going On in Italy?’

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