Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

Travel Forums Europe Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome

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1. Posted by littlesam1 (Budding Member 38 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I have read about some of the new ordinances Rome is enacting to combat the massive amount of tourists that visit the city. Today I just saw an article saying they are no longer allowing tourists to sit on the Spanish Steps. This has been a rite of passage for visitors to Rome for many years. I am glad I had a chance to visit and have my photo taken there. I do understand the problems Rome has with the massive tourism there. However I do think a 450 euro fine for sitting on them is a bit steep.

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2019, 13:39 GMT by littlesam1 ]

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 845 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

The fine for sitting is 250 euro, rising to 400 euro if they leave litter or do damage.

Whilst I agree that the fine seems steep for something millions have done in the past, increased (and increasing) visitor numbers cause major problems and, in some cases, damage to the historical centres of many European cities. But it is as it is: if all those hundreds of thousands of people had just sat on the steps....not littered, not graffitied, not behaved inappropriately.... then I doubt the restriction would have been brought in.

Just because an activity is considered a 'rite of passage' by some doesn't mean it should continue (or continue unchecked). After all, in the 1700s and 1800s it was very much a 'rite of passage' for young men on their Grand Tours to carve their names into ancient monuments (e.g. Lord Byron [and many others] on the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, numerous names on Egyptian monuments such as Abu Simbel etc etc) and we don't tolerate that nowadays.

Ultimately, each and every country and city has the right to impose rules on those who visit, whether those visitors like it or not. :-)

To be honest, I doubt that the 'no sitting' rule will be maintained. Like the proposed 'no wheeled bags in Venice' rule (which never came into force), the negative effects are likely to outweigh the positive and result in second thoughts by the authorities.

[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2019, 14:42 GMT by leics2 ]

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1173 posts) 6d 1 Star this if you like it!

It's too bad, but when tourism starts to ruin what people are there to see, the city has to do something to control the situation. If tourists were a little more respectful of the places they were touring, we might not have to deal with things like this. Tossing trash, climbing on monuments, bathing in fountains, sprawling on the steps and leaving picnic detritus behind are just a few of the problems attractions are having to deal with these days. It's kind of like the "love locks" on the Pont des Arts in Paris. The city finally had to replace the railings with Plexiglass when the metal railings laden with hundreds of metal locks tore off and crashed into the Seine. That was an accident waiting to happen. I suspect the Spanish Steps fall into that category. How long until someone slips on a discarded piece of pizza or a spillled gelato and ends up in the hospital? How do you get to the top of the steps (or the bottom) if there are people sitting on all the steps and you can't find a place to walk up or down?

Extreme? Yes, but it's getting more crowded and more complicated every day. Something has to give. Perhaps it will just make people a little more aware of the consequences of their actions and they won't have to enforce it.

4. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 319 posts) 6d 2 Star this if you like it!

Quoting Beausoleil

How long until someone slips on a discarded piece of pizza or a spilled gelato and ends up in the hospital?

Excellent point! These steps are likely a thoroughfare for many people, both tourists (or travelers!::)) and denizens. Local decisions like this often hinge on safety. Slipping on any litter is certainly possible, as is tripping over someone congesting your path - not something I'd worry about myself (we should watch where we're going), but these things do happen.

Also, bringing in new rules like this may (may!) be an indirect way of discouraging touts, vagrants and pickpockets from frequenting certain areas of a city. Likely, rules such as this won't eradicate those issues altogether, but it may be a veiled reason for such (and future potential) measures.

Of course, preserving what's left is very important too, and may be the primary reason for considering and then ultimately making such measures a reality.

I'm not at all guessing these measures regarding the Spanish Steps will or will not be fulfilled, nor am I guessing why such measures by the responsible authorities would ever be considered to begin with.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Aug-2019, 00:14 GMT by road to roam ]

5. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1180 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Tourism can overwhelm not only popular sites but popular countries.

Beginning Oct. 1 most visitors to New Zealand, including those transiting and those arriving by cruise ship from visa-waiver countries, must apply at least 72 hours in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority. The fee is 9 NZD if applied through a mobile phone app, or 12 NZD if applying online. In addition, a tourism tax is now being levied and is paid in tandem with the issuance of the NZeTA.

See this Web site:

I'm returning to New Zealand in October (second time this year) and just paid 12 NZD for my NZeTA and 35 NZD for the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

6. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 422 posts) 6d 1 Star this if you like it!

Fines must hurt, really hurt, or people will just laugh and take the risk. It's a pity that this is necessary. It would not be necessary if the vast majority of people had basic manners and a bit of common sense, but unfortunately they don't.

Another point, in addition to what has already been said, is that litter and food crumbs attract unwanted visitors like pigeons, seagulls, rats.

7. Posted by highlandspring (Budding Member 10 posts) 2d Star this if you like it!

Yes apparently the police are now blowing whistles to get tourists to move along, and you are no longer allowed to sit !