This is a story I tell quite often: I went to Italy with my family when I was 12. During our short walk from the Trevi Fountain to the Piazza di Spagna, as sun reflected off the black basalt cobblestones of Roma and lit up the eyes of young Mediterranean beauties, a wave of panic struck me. Sitting down on the Spanish Steps with sudden vertigo, I thought, Wait, am I gay? (I was). But 12-year-olds today won’t have such a restful, architecturally stunning sexual awakening, because sitting on the Spanish Steps is now illegal and will cost people up to $450.
What once was a 137-step meeting place for great artists and literati, and later a spot to relax amid a modern cosmopolitan bustle, will now be the sight of constant police intervention. The ordinance went into effect last month, but The Associated Press reported the police have really started cracking down on those deviant... sitters.
These rules apply not only to the Spanish Steps but to other iconic public spaces, including the Trevi Fountain. People will also be charged for eating or drinking on the steps (I’d like to note that, should you get caught doing the dirty deeds, you may only have to pay $280 unless the steps are dirtied or damaged).
“You need to set rules to reduce the risk of people being disrespectful to the city of Rome. So many things are so old and so ancient,” Simone Amorico, CEO of Access Italy, told The Washington Post. Amorico also claimed that Italians don’t really sit on the Spanish Steps.
People are understandably frustrated by the decision, claiming the steps are a beloved resting spot and that this is only treating a small symptom of a larger issue of over-tourism.
And for the baby gays in a warped Lizzie Mcguire Movie? Try holding onto the concrete railing when reality strikes.