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Trevi Fountain in Rome patrolled by tourist police for unruly behavior

After announcing hefty fines for snacking tourists, the Italian capital has now dispatched patrols to enforce behavior. Several tourists have been seen bathing in the fountain.

Retired police officers will enforce behavior codes for tourists at Rome's iconic Trevi Fountain, local authorities announced on Tuesday.

Former Carabinieri and traffic police officers will look for uncouth behavior "that sometimes threatens the conservation, livability and decor of the square and monumental fountain," Rome's council said.

Several former police officers started warding tourists off the stone rim of the 1762-built fountain on Tuesday. They asked people not to eat there and to keep an open path through the crowds.Read more: Tourists snacking by Rome fountains face hundreds in fines

The mayor of Italy's capital signed an order last month to help protect Trevi and 40 other historic fountains in the city, prescribing stiff fines for climbing, sitting on, or eating on the monuments. Fines range from 40 to 240 euros ($47 to $280).

The whistle-wielding officers will try to limit the time tourists spend gazing at the notoriously crowded monument.

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The fountains of Rome, kept clean

"The idea is to have people access the fountain from the center, and then to have them walk away to the left," Rome local police commander Diego Porta said in a video interview with the La Repubblica newspaper.

The city said the volunteer officers would patrol from 9 a.m. to midnight up until mid-October, when they will decide whether to make them permanent.

"I call it a matter of education," Pietro Nannuzzi, coordinator of the team, told Germany's Catholic news agency KNA. "Some behave themselves here in ways they'd never allow in their own homes."

Several Italian cities are struggling to cope with mass tourism, especially in the summer. In Florence, Mayor Dario Nardella recently decided to hose down pavements and steps of famous churches with water, to stop tourists from camping out on them.

In unrelated Italian fountain news, the Vatican announced on Tuesday that it would switch off the water at 100 fountains around the city to help cope with a water shortage.

Tourists threw 1.4 million euros ($1.6 million) worth of coins into the Trevi Fountain during 2016, which were donated to charity.

aw/msh (dpa, AP, EFE, KNA, Reuters)

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