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No Snack for You! Rome Threatens €500 Fine for Street Eaters

Where: Rome , Italy
October 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

Illegal snacking in Piazza Navona

What's the Italian for "no snacking?"

We have no idea, but travelers are about to find out as Rome has enacted a new law banning the activity of eating snack foods within the historic center city.

Si, vero.

Chow down on some cioccolato in vicino of the cobblestoned streets and you'll be liable to pay a fine, which ranges from €25 to €500, though what exactly you'd have to do to warrant the €500 penalty is not stated (perhaps pour a banana split on Neptune in the Fontana di Trevi and then lick it off?!)

It's a law that specifically targets careless tourists, and Telegraph UK explains where you'll have to keep that gelato gluttony in check:

[Snack ban sites] include the marble fountains of Piazza Navona, which is thronged with cafés, restaurants and street artists, as well as the stone walls which surround the Pantheon, a former Roman temple converted into a church, and Via dei Fori Imperiali, the broad approach to the Colosseum, the ancient Roman arena where gladiators once fought.
'It is forbidden to encamp or erect makeshift shelters and stop to eat or drink in zones which have a particular historic or architectural value,' reads the ordinance adopted by Rome city council. The law is intended to 'guarantee the protection of areas of merit in the historic centre.' Similar bans have been adopted in Venice, where eating snacks on the street is prohibited in St Mark's Square, as well as Florence and Bologna.

Let's think about this for a moment. There's a myriad of snacks to be snacking on in Rome. Cornetti, gelato, pizzette, panini, arancini! Oooo...arancini. If any of those things are unfamiliar to you, Google it tout de suite and then book a flight to Italy.

We digress. The point is, Italy offers up so much to enrich the snack world that outlawing snacking should be outlawed itself. Our own theory for the new rule is that it can be used to bust people for other, legal activities that get out of hand. For example, say a group of college-age American tourists are in the Campo de' Fiori at 2am, drunk, and laying into a few crinkling bags of bolognese-flavor potato chips. A law against snacking would be the ideal way for annoyed Polizia officers to break up that party and move them along. In fact, the Telegraph does note that this is likely a step towards ending the raucous bar crawl tours.

Look. The average traveler biting into a hot panini in a piazza won't be surrounded by the Guardia di Finanza. How do we know this? Because Rome will never, ever get rid of the ubiquitous snack trucks that serve up said paninis. So munch on, but don't go causing other trouble that gives 'em a reason to enforce the snack ban.

[Photos: yourdon & carlitos]

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