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Rome's War on the Sandwich: Italian City Fines Tourists For Snacking at Historic Sites

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Oct 05, 2012 12:33 PM EDT

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Rome is cracking down on the number of outdoor cafes and restaurants.(Photo : Wikimedia)

Rome is at war with sandwiches and other foods.  Tourists often decide to stop and snack while checking out various attractions in the ancient Italian city. However, they're going to have to find somewhere else to eat as Rome's mayor has made it illegal to eat snack and junk food around busy tourist sites. Eating a sandwich on the Spanish Steps can mean a $650 fine.

Rome's Mayor Gianna Alemanno is on a mission to protect the city's historic sites.  As part of a new rule, people will not be allowed to stop and eat or sit and eat things like chips, sandwiches, paninis, pizza and more while visiting sites such as the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and more.

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People are still allowed to eat while walking.

Those who break the rules may be given a fine of 25 to 500 euros, or $32 to $650 dollars, according to NBC News.

Italian police officers are already ticketing visitors.

"We could have given tickets to many more, but you have to apply some reason," officer Magdi Adib told NBC News. "If they drink a bottle of water it's OK, but if they camp out, we fine them."

"Eating on monuments can really get out of control," he continued. "Once I caught a group of tourists who set a table on the Spanish Steps, with table cloth and cutlery! This has to stop."

Residents think the rule will be a good thing.

"This is a way to re-educate people about how to behave in this city. We've let standards fall," added Viviana Di Capua, a local resident told The Telegraph.

"At the moment people can do anything they like in this city. We need to restore respect. It's just a first step - a lot more needs to be done," she continued.

Tourists, on the other hand, seem a bit confused as police tell them to move away from the historic sites. They don't realize that it's because of the food in their hands as there are no signs explaining the rules.

"What? It's full of food carts around here ... where am I supposed to eat?" a German tourist told NBC.

While officers attempt to hand out tickets and enforce the rules, they doubt that people will actually pay the fines.

"Most of them are foreigners, so I doubt they will pay the ticket before they go back to their countries," an officer told NBC. "It's more likely they'll keep it as a souvenir."

Rome has already seen problems with ancient tourist attractions in the city, so they want to try to preserve what they can. This past summer, parts of the Trevi Fountain were crumbling. The Colosseum may also undergo restoration as experts noticed that it is leaning.


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