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No Swimming! Rome Braces for Summer of Tourists at Its Fountains

Mr. Messina kept a watchful eye and blew his whistle at tourists climbing up the fountain’s edges. “They think it is a playground,” he said, attributing the rash of fountain abuse to social media, or “advertising for bad behavior.”

He recalled a Turkish tourist about six months ago who climbed all the way up the sculpture of Neptune, who lords over the fountain.

But he confided that the worst offenders were three elderly local men who came every morning to sit for hours on a bench beside the fountain, their eyes trained up at the women walking above them in short skirts.

“Obsessives,” Mr. Messina said, shaking his head.

Even as Mr. Messina deftly enforced the law, he made sure not to detract from people reveling in their Roman holiday. He posed for pictures and instructed grateful tourists over which shoulder to properly toss their coin. (“Right hand over left shoulder, across you heart.”)

He said he appreciated the ordinance and its increased manpower, from two to now six officers on duty 24 hours a day, because “thousands of tourists are not easily controlled.”

He again whistled some stragglers off the fountain walls as one of his reinforcements, an eighth officer in a neon mesh vest, came on in relief.

“I’m here for the 5 o’clock shift,” she said. “Take a break.”

Source: NYT > World

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