It’s a bad week for gladiators—and badly behaved tourists—in Rome

There’s a fine for that.
There’s a fine for that.
Image: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi
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Full-time gladiators in Rome (also known as centurions) have lost the fight for their jobs. New tourism regulations in the Eternal City forbid the practice of dressing up as any historical figure or character and posing for photos with tourists—or risk a €400 ($450) fine.

The rule is just one of a slew of new restrictions intended to crack down on “overtourism” in the city, which receives millions of visitors each year. Other forbidden behaviors include drinking alcohol on the street after certain hours; a ban on selling booze anywhere after 2am; organizing pub crawls for tourists; climbing on, swimming in, or eating near fountains; and eating in other restricted areas, such as the Spanish Steps.

Gladiators have a developed a reputation as a public nuisance for harassing, overcharging, and even stealing from tourists, according to The Local Italy. Meanwhile, tourists have repeatedly shown their inability to act like adults while visiting famed locations like the Trevi Fountain, with incidents of brawls and disturbances in the quest for selfies becoming commonplace.

Many of these rules were already temporarily in place, but the city has made them permanent under their daspo urbano—which allows them to not only fine offenders, but also temporarily ban or exclude them repeat offenders from public areas. Rome’s mayor also announced a beefed-up team of vigili urbani (city police) to make sure enforcement is robust. The move itself fits into a larger trend of Italian cities cracking down on badly behaved tourists; Venice, for example, has a seemingly ever-growing list of things tourists can’t do, including standing idly around, and sightseeing while “bare-chested.

That’s not it for Rome. As Skift reports, this week has also seen the passage of new rules limiting or removing tour buses’ right to drive through the city’s ancient city center. Critics of the new rule, which goes into effect January 1, worry that it will prompt people to visit the city’s most iconic attractions en masse by foot or car, potentially causing even more traffic havoc.

Rome has seen its fair share of upheaval and tumult in the past two millennia. But overtourism, it seems, is as ardent a foe as any.