Tourists make the news in Italy again.
A British tourist was fined €500 for dipping his feet into a landmark fountain in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna on Saturday afternoon, according to Italian news reports.
The tourist, aged 42, was caught in the act by Rome police officers who in addition to the hefty fine issued the man with a temporary ‘daspo‘ ban from returning to the area.
The fountain in question is the Barcaccia, which sits at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Built in 1626-29, the monument is accredited to Pietro Bernini, with the possible contribution of his famous son Gian Lorenzo.
Saturday’s incident occurred in the middle of a heatwave in Italy, with temperatures in some parts of the country reaching 40 C degrees this weekend.
In June the Spanish Steps were damaged by an American visitor after she threw her electric scooter, while in May a Saudi tourist drove a Maserati down the 18th-century staircase.
In recent months there have been several cases of people jumping into the waters of the city’s historic fountains – including the Trevi Fountain – an offence that normally carries fines of €450.
A brief history of the Barcaccia fountain
The Barcaccia was commissioned by the Barberini pope Urban VIII (1623-1644), allegedly inspired by a boat brought there by a flood of the river Tiber.
The fountain was restored in the 18th century, again in the early 19th century and twice in the late 20th century, before undergoing its latest restoration in 2014.
A year later, in 2015, the fountain was damaged during riots by fans of the Feyenoord football club ahead of a Europa League match against AS Roma.
Photo credit: Longfin Media / Shutterstock.com.