Laws to know when you visit Rome

When visiting any new city, it is important to do your research. Being culturally aware and knowing any different laws from your home city is useful in ensuring you enjoy your holiday and don’t accidentally cause a ruckus.  

In the past few years, Rome has been in the news for some of its new laws. These changes have been implemented to try and protect the city’s many historic sites as well as give visitors the best experience possible.

To help you have the best trip possible and keep you out of trouble, we’ve pulled together a quick guide for you to use as a reference. As always, remember this is just a guide, and you should still do your own research before heading to Rome. We’re not lawyers, we can’t help you if you get into trouble!

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get into it.

  • Love Locks

    Love Lock

    What started as a delightful tradition in France has become an international phenomenon. The fad has seen people latching often engraved padlocks to bridges before throwing keys into the water below. The locks are meant to symbolise the unbreakable love of the sweethearts who attached it.

    The locks have been appearing more and more around the world and are regarded by most local municipalities as vandalism or litter. Rome is no exception and has placed a ban on the locks. Not only can they be unsightly, but their weight can damage the structural integrity of the bridge they are affixed to. Additionally, the keys disregarded in the nearby waters can cause chemical contamination, impacting local plant and wildlife.

    So, if you’re tempted to add your lock to a bridge in Rome, think again! And while we’re here, Venice has also banned the locks, so you won’t be able to snap it onto any bridges there either.

  • Bar Crawls

    Bar Crawls

    In late 2018 Rome changed a temporary bar crawl ban into a permanent restriction. The ban reflects broader attempts to curb excessive alcohol consumption in the city. Bar crawls centred around excessive drinking in breweries, wine bars and pubs are not allowed.

    In addition to this ban, there are also strict regulation on the sale of alcohol. It is prohibited to but alcohol or drink in public between 10 pm and 7 am. When in public you cannot drink out of glass containers after 10 pm, after 11 pm you cannot drink out of any container. Alcohol sale bans also reach to clubs, which are not able to serve after 2 am.

  • Eating in public places

    Gelato Melting

    At first look, this seems a bit drastic but hang on for a second and you’ll understand a bit better. Rome is filled with plenty of beautiful and historic sites however they are increasingly becoming unruly due in-part to messy eaters.

    The new laws see bans on eating individual pizza slices, takeaway pizzas, and gelato in or around popular tourist attractions. So be sure to enjoy your lunch before heading to the Trevi Fountain. After all, everyone wants to see the beautiful monument, not your melted ice cream all over the place.

    If you are caught eating messy foods too close to any monuments, expect to get a reminder from local police stationed at the site. It is also worth noting that it is generally seen as impolite to eat while walking around the streets, and littering is strictly forbidden.

  • Roman Restaurants


    This particular rule is a fantastic benefit for both locals and tourists in Rome. It’s a great idea to know about them before heading to Rome as they can help make sure you’re not ripped off by any cheeky dining establishment.

    By law, all restaurants in Rome must have a menu on display -with prices- out in front of their establishments. This is meant to allow customers to gain a proper understanding of the restaurant’s price before they enter. Additionally, restaurants cannot collect cover charges for those eating at the establishment. They also can’t charge you for any bread they place on the table (if you specifically ask for or order it however you will be charged). You must be provided with an accurate receipt, if not be sure to request one.

  • Ticket Touts and centurions


    For years, every ticketed site you went to in Rome had tens of people lining the sidewalk trying to sell ‘skip the line’ tickets and spiked prices. These so-called ticket touts would buy out skip the line tickets early in the day and sell them for a profit to desperate or unknowing tourists. The recent law changes, however, have banned the practice, ensuring that tourists are not ripped off by cunning locals.

    Additionally, where there were touts there were centurions. These slick money makers seemed to appear in pairs wherever you went. Centurions, or gladiators as they’d call themselves, were men dressed in historical outfits. They will encourage tourists to take photos and selfies with them before swiftly demanding payment.

    The scam has long been an issue for local authorities; however, the new laws are hoped to help them restrict the centurions from asking for money.

  • Street Vendors


    Street vendors can often be found selling water bottles, umbrellas and small souvenirs when in Rome. Be warned though, these businesses are illegal, and you can be charged if you purchase from them.

    Additionally, if you head to a market and find cheap fake-designer bag you should probably keep walking. Selling and buying fakes is also illegal and if caught you may be charged.

The bottom line

Ultimately it is up to you to ensure that you are obeying all local laws and customs, and we strongly suggest you do your own research before arriving in Rome.

Most of the situations we have described will see you given a stern warning and talking to by local police. However, police are also able to charge you and issue fines to anyone breaking the mentioned laws. In extreme cases, police are also able to ban individuals from the city for some time.

We hope that you can use this information to feel better prepared for your Rome trip. We hope you don’t feel scared or intimidated by any laws that may differ from those you are used to. Rome is a delightful city, and by following local laws you’ll ensure the best trip not only for yourself but for others too!

Related article: Top Things to do in Rome

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