Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn
What's the Latest Development?
Starting this week, anyone caught eating food around the monuments and buildings found in the area of Rome declared a UNESCO World Heritage site may be fined up to $650. This includes famous piazzas such as Navona and Venezia, as well as the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps, all of which draw hundreds of thousands of tourists a year. The law, adopted by the city council, states: "It is forbidden to encamp or erect makeshift shelters and stop to eat or drink in zones which have a particular historic or architectural value." With it, Rome follows in the footsteps of other Italian cities, such as Venice and Florence, that have enacted bans on eating in historic areas.
What's the Big Idea?
Apparently, when in Rome, the tourists don't do as the Romans do: Eating or drinking on the street is just "not done." However, the lack of tolerance for its visitors' habits may cost the city at a time when economic pressures are driving spending down among the locals. Some critics say that the city council should be more concerned with trash pickup and illegal hawkers and put tourists' behavior in perspective. One says, "[P]estering tourists while they are eating lunch out of a bag really seems the last of our problems."
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