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Tourist fined for Decorum violation

Be aware of cultural norms

Nutshell: "Tourist issued a €450 fine (about $455) for [eating gelato and drinking a beer] while sitting on the steps of the Fontana dei Catecumeni in Rome. During the day, the fountain is a popular tourist attraction, but at some point in the evening, it had ... been cordoned off ... leaving the clueless American wondering why the police were citing him for breaking what are known as the city's "urban decorum" rules ... laws that were updated in 2019 in part to deal with unruly tourists."

Posted by
3812 posts

"Do not eat and sit on stuff that's 187 years older than your home-country", it's seems more a truism than a cultural norm to me.

Posted by
6613 posts

He should be fined at least €450 just for drinking beer while eating a gelato, never mind the location. Violates the laws of good taste (and is a waste of both the beer, and the gelato...I enjoy both, but they do not mix well).

He got off easy.

Posted by
14909 posts

Yes, they do not permit to have a picnic while sitting on historical monuments or sights. Some tourists were transforming those places into garbage places, also because not everybody properly disposed of their trash. There are public parks where one can have picnics without fear of being fined. Rome is full of such parks, including the Parco Oppio near the Colosseum, which is a short walk from that fountain.

Posted by
15544 posts

As well, dropped or dripped bits of food draw the pigeons. Their droppings are corrosive - not to mention unsightly - and destructive to stone and many other substrates. It's even illegal to feed them in Venice.

David!!! 🤣

Posted by
6742 posts

I can totally get behind the fact that this is forbidden, but €450 is a really steep fine, which can explain the bad press! Many traffic offenses don't reach that level, for example.

Posted by
1259 posts

The article indicates the police are issuing similar citations to the locals, too. (edited)

Posted by
14909 posts

Italian Municipalities have to find the money somewhere to pay for their thousands employees who collect a paycheck without doing any work. Hiring public servants that are not needed is the Italian version of a welfare program.

Posted by
3812 posts

Edit.

Italian Municipalities have to find the money somewhere to pay for their thousands employees who collect a paycheck without doing any work. Hiring public servants that are not needed is the Italian version of a welfare program.

Unfortunately for those who live and joke on (old) stereotypes, in the EU countries the average % of public servants on the workforce is around 17%. Whereas in Italy it is the 13%; incidentally one of the 3 highest decreases in the EU between 2000 and 2017.

Italy spends 9.8% of her GDP on paying public servants, a little less than the EU average. The gross wage? 2,800 Euro a month in the EU vs 1,799 in Italy. It's 2,464 Euro in France and 2,909 in Spain, in other words italian public servants are actually paying the interests on our National debt.

Yes, unlike all the others who live milling statistics I am actually fun at parties.

Posted by
1259 posts

If one thinks that's normal to eat and drink and seat on something built in 1589, this one is not ignorant but "special". Anyway, ignorant Tourists would better pay attention to uniformed officers speaking to them in the night.

I have no special access to any statistics; that statement about the police citing everyone was lifted from the original story. Where I'm from, targeting tourists is not necessarily a bad thing, they often get informed about localized conditions that could lead to infractions so they might alter their behavior. However, an out of state license plate on a car going 40mph in a 20mph school zone is going to result in large ticket, even with "I'm not from around here."
Tell you what, never mind, I'll just edit it out.

The second stereotype bothered me a bit, too, but I figured someone else would have snappy comeback. Good for you.

Posted by
6742 posts

However, an out of state license plate on a car going 40mph in a 20mph school zone is going to result in large ticket, even with "I'm not from around here."

Fully agreed, but the problem I see here is that in Italy, the fine for such an offence is about 1/3 of the "picnic fine" in the article. The punishment seems disproportionate, and this contributes to bad PR!

Posted by
8329 posts

Whenever I see what appears to be an excessive fine for anything (such as being caught with fruit at customs) I assume there is more to the story. And my educated guess is that it has to do with how belligerent the offender is. Maybe I watch too many "Karen" videos on Facebook.

More support for "dressing like a local"? (joke)

Posted by
14909 posts

Considering that I worked for the City of Florence a couple of years while studying at the University of Florence, I don’t think citing statistics on the rest of the EU or the average pay will change my mind. I’ve never had a cushier job in my life. I was paid to work 36 hours a week when in fact I doubt I worked half of that. And if it was just me, then one might say I was the exception. No. That was very widespread among the entire organization. Some of my colleagues even engaged in behavior that was borderline illegal, like were going to work in their own family shop manned by their spouses (eyeglass store, travel,agency, you name it) during work hours. Nobody worked the full 36 hours, nobody, and by work I mean being present on the job, because often times there were 4 of us in the office just talking about the vicissitudes of Fiorentina the previous weekend (I worked in the Sports department and worked also at the “Franchi” Stadium as well as the Mandela Forum (the indoor stadium). Several of us doing work for the first 2-3 hours, then fooling around the rest of the day. It is possible of course that things have improved since then, but from the articles I read daily on “La Nazione” of Florence, a lot of Florentines complain about the efficiency of their City services, and many definitely complain about the fact that Florence has the absolute record in ticket revenue in Italy (29 million in the first 3 months of 2022) and that is used as a revenue machine rather than a way to prevent bad behavior.
https://www.lanazione.it/firenze/cronaca/capitale-multe-1.7718773

Posted by
6613 posts

Roberto, I am shocked, SHOCKED, to find out that municipal workers are not always nose-to-the-grindstone 40 hours a week.

Now, where are my winnings?

Posted by
14909 posts

David.
I worked for many years for Medicare in a building where there were also a couple of floors occupied by the District Attorney’s office. At lunch we all used the same gym downstairs so I became friends with many of those investigators and Prosecutors. Unlike me, who worked out only about an hour, they used to spend hours at the gym during the day, so I used to joke with them if they won any case in court, since they didn’t seem to ever be at work. We are still good friends (most of them retired) and we see one another regularly, and I often tell them they made the City of Florence employees look hard working.

Posted by
32155 posts

I also agree with David. Beer with gelato..... sacrilege!

Posted by
3812 posts

I don’t think citing statistics on the rest of the EU

Strictly speaking, I cited a comparison between Italy and the rest of EU not just "statistics" and it proves you are wrong.

I have a cousin who's been working for a small City in Puglia for 20 years and tells a different story from yours. The lady st the Italian version of the IRS who checks my taxes replies to emails on Sundays. Any-given-time.

Who's right between my cousin, me and Roberto? Statistics, aka facts based on big numbers. For sure not somebody who has candidly admitted he ignored an illegal behaviour and took part in it instead of doing something. More or less it's like a self-confessed thief who complains because everybody else has been stealing and making more money than him.

I can't see the logical connection between a stereotype proven wrong by facts and fines. Anyway I can't take seriously complains from those who actually did not obey the rules and were fined because they actually did not obey the rules.

Posted by
3812 posts

I also agree with David. Beer with gelato..... sacrilege!

I have been mulling over a Guinnes & Dark Chocolate flavour for years... Better then the Celery & Smurf flavour I saw on sale in Bozen.

Posted by
8329 posts

So I found an article about that situation, and I was right. The traveler refused to leave when warned. Disrespect will get even the most indolent public servant upset.

Posted by
6613 posts

Hey, dark chocolate goes with just about anything. A good stout, a nice red wine. Even fried grasshoppers (or so I've been told - I can vouch for the wine and beer pairings, I draw my gastronomic boundary at insects).

I'm guessing the clueless louts who were picnicking on the steps of Fontana dei Catecumeni -- and then ignored warnings from cops -- were not true gourmands, just idiots (based on their failure to heed said warnings).