Rome’s plan to build a barrier around the Trevi Fountain has sparked outrage among arts and heritage experts since being approved by the city council.
The 1-metre-high barrier around the famous monument would stop tourists from sitting on or swimming in it, according to the council motion approved last Friday.
“Installing a barrier seems a frightful offence against the beauty of a masterpiece which gives itself generously to those who observe it,” architect and historian Paolo Portoghesi told Italian media.
He called the plan “truly foolish”, and said it would be enough to have police on patrol at the tourist hotspot. “If they are not used for specific dangers, gates are follies that destroy the sense of the city,” he added. “Rome has always sought a direct relationship with those who live there and those who visit it.”
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi has defended the project, saying the barrier would not impede the view of the fountain or affect the tradition of tossing coins into its waters.
Rome recently banned tourists from sitting on fountains around the city, but police haven’t always been successful in enforcing the new regulations.
Tourists have also specifically been warned against swimming in the fountains, and anyone caught doing so could face a fine of up to €450.