Fake gladiators with plastic helmets, swords and shields – long a tacky feature of the tourist experience in Rome – are now banned in the city, part of a public decorum drive by the local city officials.
After two millennia, the last Centurions have finally been banished from Rome. As of Thursday (27.11.2015), men who dress up as soldiers of the ancient Empire and offer to pose for tourist snaps in return for cash were banned from the streets around the Colosseum and the rest of the Eternal City.
Drivers of bicycle-drawn rickshaws and touts selling bus tours or tickets to historic monuments were also outlawed under a decree issued by city commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca.
The commissioner is running the city pending the election of a new mayor and his decree declared the measures necessary on security grounds and to defend the reputation of Rome by protecting tourists from scamsters. It came ahead of the launch next month of a Catholic Jubilee year which is expected to significantly increase the numbers of visitors coming to Rome.
While many visitors enjoyed their exchanges with the would-be Centurions and were happy to cough up five euros ($6) or so for a souvenir photo, recent months had seen some acting in what the decree termed an “inappropriate, insistent and sometimes aggressive,” manner to obtain larger sums from tourists.