Rome to remove souvenir stands in front of main tourist sites

Souvenir stands standing in front of some of Rome’s most famous monuments are to be moved in an attempt to improve the Italian capital’s vision, according to Mayor Virginia Raggi. Seventeen stalls will be moved from sites including the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. However, eight of them will still be able to trade on streets bur away from the monuments, authorities said in a notice.

According to Raggi, the stalls selling an assortment of souvenirs, including T-shirts, mugs, miniature Colosseums and figurines featuring everyone from Pope Francis to Donald Trump are incongruous with their surroundings. The mayor Raggi, who has long pledged to banish the stalls, said the move was intended to protect Rome’s heritage while ensuring safety at its most-visited sites. The legislation was due to come into force on 1 January, but two stands were still in front of the Trevi Fountain on Thursday.

Raggi also banned illegal street trading as part of a raft of rules announced last summer, but many still freely operate around the tourist sites. The mayor has been endeavouring to boost decorum in other ways, such as banning tourists from sitting on the Spanish Steps, eating by monuments, wandering around bare-chested and dragging suitcases and buggies down historic staircases. Steep fines are already in place for those who jump into the city’s fountains.

Many of the measures are difficult to enforce, but one that has been successful is a ban on modern-day centurions – men who dress up in tunics and leather breastplates, wielding plastic swords, to make money by posing for photographs.

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