Friday, October 5, 2012

Rome bans sitting and eating gelato, so all I have are the photos and the memories

     This is one of my favorite family travel photos, taken from a Spring Break trip to Italy and Paris in 2008. It was a lot easier and cheaper to get a ticket with Skymiles in those days. I'm glad I used some while they still had some value.
     I'm fairly certain this was taken in the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, on the steps of the large fountain in the center of the piazza. Obviously everyone had just gotten a scoop of the famous Italian gelato, which makes one want to go back to Italy again. Don't bother with the stuff you might find in an American mall; it's not the same.
     We actually sat and rested for a while, and we noticed that the beggars outside the church actually worked in official shifts. One would beg for 30 minutes and then be relieved by another who would take his or her place. It was their job.
     I may not get a chance to take another photo like this, or if I do it may be costly. The Rome city council has enacted a 500 Euro fine for anyone caught sitting and eating in any place of historic significance. The Spanish Steps and the Pantheon certainly qualify; I'm not sure whether our fountain, above, does or not.
     The real problem wasn't with people eating gelato. There were apparently people having full-scale picnics at busy sites, setting up dining tables and splitting open watermelons. People have been using fountains to wash dirty food off their hands. I understand the need to crack down, but it does seem they should make an exception for gelato!
     Just think kids, you've gotten to sit at the steps on a Roman monument and eat gelato -- legally. No one will ever be able to do that again.

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