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Tourists who frolic in Rome's fountains face 48-hour ban from city

A man takes a selfie while drinking from Bernini’s 17th-century Barcaccia fountain. Credit: AP

The mayor of Rome has ushered in a permanent get-tough approach on boorish behaviour by tourists and those Romans who exploit them.

Exasperated by tourists who frolic in Rome’s public fountains, vandalise its monuments and treat its landmarks as their own personal living rooms, the city famous for its artistic heritage and easy-going lifestyle has had enough.

The Italian capital’s first populist mayor, Virginia Raggi, presented a law banning bad behaviour including eating or drinking or climbing on monuments, walking around partially unclothed and wading through fountains.

Tourists sit by the famous Trevi fountain. Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP

Frolicking in fountains was made famous by Anita Ekberg, who danced in the city’s magnificent baroque Trevi Fountain in Federico Fellini’s classic film immortalising Rome’s carefree spirit.

While many of the measures already existed in temporary form or were rarely enforced, a unanimous city council vote on Thursday made them permanent.

Disobeying these rules means local authorities can exile the badly behaved from the city’s historic centre for 48 hours.

“Rome city centre is an area protected by Unesco , so clearly our centre is our business ticket,” Ms Raggi said, promising “zero tolerance for those marring our city”.

A city police officer talks to a woman having an ice-cream by the Trevi fountain. Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP

Rome’s law joins a raft of efforts by tourist-clogged cities around the world to regulate their behaviour or limit their numbers.

Florence last year called for fines as high as €500 (£445) for visitors who eat on pavements or in doorways at meal times near its landmark Uffizi Galleries.

Venice in the past has banned tourists from eating in St Mark’s Square unless they eating or drinking at the square’s expensive cafes.

In France, the Louvre Museum in Paris closed for a day after workers said the crowds were too big to handle.

Tourists face a crackdown on unsuitable behaviour around Rome. Credit: Gregorio Borgia/AP

In Amsterdam, the city plans to ban guided tours of the red-light district.

Ms Raggi, the highest profile mayor for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, boasted that for the first time since 1946, Rome had an “all-encompassing law” ending decades of “temporary rules”.

“We don’t want people to take a bath, or ruin or dirty monuments any more,” she said.

Earlier in the day, she told reporters she has started writing to foreign ambassadors whose citizens had been caught behaving badly.

On Friday, police could be seen telling tourists near the Spanish Steps to put their shoes back on and stop drinking beer.