You may have already heard the rumors about new rules banning sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome. They’re true. Sitting on the famous steps can cost you anywhere from €160 – €400 in fines.
The new ban is part of a wave of new legislation from Rome’s Mayor, Virginia Raggi, to protect the city of Rome and its monuments. Along with the sitting ban, regulations and fines against stepping into Rome’s fountains, late-night alcohol sales, and even animal abuse are among the new protections.
Public opinion for the new ban is quite mixed. Confused tourists and locals alike feel it’s an exaggerated enforcement of power. Meanwhile others feel it’s about time something was done. On any given day during high tourist seasons, the steps could be seen packed with hundreds of people which not only made walking up and down difficult and even dangerous but also caused damage to the steps. Strollers and heavy suitcases bang up the travertine steps while disrespectful tourists would bring food from nearby restaurants to dine al fresco on the steps, often leaving trash and a mess behind. To this end, the new ban has been graciously welcomed by those who wish for the protection of the national monument.
The steps we constructed in 1725 to connect the summit of the Pincio Hill to its base, or more specifically the Spanish Embassy of the Holy See to the Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti at the top. While the steps are known around the world as the Spanish Steps, locally Romans refer to them as the Scalinata dei Trinità dei Monti.
In 2015 Bulgari, the luxury fashion and jewelry brand founded in Rome in 1884 and whose flagship store is located at the base of the Spanish Steps, made a €1.5 million donation to the city for the restoration of the famous staircase. The stairs were closed for 10 months while they underwent careful cleaning as well as stone reinforcement and protection to ensure safety. The Spanish Steps were reopened in fall 2016.
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