Non sederti sui gradini!

The Spanish Steps have offered a resting place to many weary travellers over the years – but now being able to rest your feet by slumping on them with a cooling drink or gelato has come to an abrupt end.

It is something I was reminded of on my recent trip to Rome when I sat on them! I must be one of the last people to be photographed reclining on the steps before a loud whistle was heard and a policewoman appeared in front of me.

The police in Rome are preventing people from sitting on the steps, as has been the tradition, because of the dangers of damage and erosion – and also the rubbish left on them.

It is also now prohibited to sit on the edge of fountains such as the Trevi Fountain and Fontana della Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps, which is now surrounded by barriers and red tape, quite literally. Generations of romantic assignations sitting on the edge of the fountains in Rome, or perched on the Spanish Steps, have come to an end.

New laws mean the police can issue a £230 fine to anyone caught sitting on the Spanish Steps – a place where people congregate to enjoy the view of the Fontana della Barcaccia (1627), which used to provide comfort to the poet Keats as he lay dying from tuberculosis in his bedchamber overlooking Piazza di Spagna.

Spanish Steps sized
The Spanish Steps minus people during cleaning in 2015, with Keats house
Keats' mask
Keats’ death mask
Fontana Barcaccia sized
Fontanella Barcaccio, Piazza di Spagna

Travellers also gather on the Spanish Steps with guitars – or busk at the foot of the steps for the entertainment of those sitting there.

However, leaving rubbish on the steps or damaging the stairway by hauling suitcases up or down it can now also attract a fine of £370.

Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps at night


Anyone who has tried to walk up the steps in one go will also know how challenging this can be, especially on a hot day!

However, Italy is getting tougher on those who potentially cause damage to its ancient monuments – in Rome, bathing in the fountains is prohibited, as is walking around bare chested.

Antinous, the Greek lover of Emperor Hadrian, who drowned in the Tiber.  Shirtless. (Image Creative Commons Licence)

And if you are visiting Venice, the same ban on bare chests and swimming in the canals has been introduced.

Lake Garda and Venice June 2012 636
No swimming

When in Italy, stand up and cover up seems to be the new message!

Buon viaggio!

Vietato nuotare (Image Creative Commons Licence)
Images copyright A. Meredith except where stated.


Want to go to Rome now?



Download ROME ALONE and ROME AGAIN free at Kindle Unlimited –  or for £2.40 each.

Set off to the Eternal City for a long weekend in ROME ALONE, as unhappy housewife Bee and newly-divorced Alzheimer’s expert Dr Neil McCarthy leave from opposite ends of the country for a mini-break full of the unexpected that will change their lives forever as they make their way round the sites. Return to Rome with them three years later in ROME AGAIN and discover the forces at work which they never suspected on their first trip.





Catch up with the story in VERONA ALONE, free at Kindle Unlimited – or for just £2.40 each. 

In VERONA ALONE, newly divorced former cellist Moira decides to fulfil a girlhood dream of visiting Verona during the summer opera season. There she is taken under the wing of a quirky and generous American who appears to have a secret, which is only discovered when she finds herself all at sea with him. VERONA AGAIN sees three couples fight to save their relations – who will succeed, who will fail and who will lose the love of their life?



All books contain adult themes, dark humour and sexual content.







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