Gobsmacked tourist handed £390 fine for eating ice cream near Rome fountain

A tourist enjoying a holiday in Rome was shocked when he was handed a €450 (£390) fine for eating a gelato and drinking a beer near a fountain in the Italian capital.

The man, whose name has not been revealed, was approached by police after they spotted him enjoying a nightcap by the the Fontana dei Catecumeni at around 1am on Saturday morning.

The landmark, built in 1589 by Battista Rusconi, is a popular meeting point, conveniently located just 500m north of the Colosseum and equally close to the Roman Forum of the historic city.

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However, it usually has tape surrounding it to stop people from sitting by it at night after the city brought in laws in recent years to help protect its famous landmarks – but the tape was not present when the unfortunate American settled in for his late-night snack.

Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported that the man was asked to move but refused, causing him to be given the hefty fine.

This isn't the first time strict laws, brought in to "maintain decorum" around Rome's ancient tourist attractions have caused run-ins with the law.

Italy's capital has introduced stringent rules including a 10pm curfew for drinking outdoors, congregating and having picnics outside of churches and monuments.

As well as the unlucky American, two tourists were fined after a man hurled a scooter down Rome's historic steps.

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The incident saw a 29-year-old man, who also remained unidentified, wheeling an electric scooter down the famous Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti – known as the Spanish Steps.

The incident was even caught on video.

The man's companion, 28, then threw the scooter down the steps, where it landed and caused nearly £21,000 worth of damage.

Italian police were able to track down the inconsiderate duo, also reportedly from the US, and fine them more than £340 each.

The pair were also barred from going to the monument, and the city has since banned sitting on the World Heritage Site steps.

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