Rome's newly-appointed superintendent of archaeological heritage, Maria Rosaria Barbera, has ordered the expulsion of all costumed centurions from the area around the Colosseum.

Barbera has also ordered licensed vendors to keep their distance from the monument during the Easter season, and called for the "decorum" of the square to be restored no later than 6 April.

City councillor for trade Davide Bordoni responded by launching a task force of municipal police to crack down on the fake centurions as well as illegal snack-bar trucks and souvenir pedlars from the Colosseum's visitor entrances and exits, and around the Arch of Constantine.

The move follows recently-proposed legislation which would have obliged the centurions to obtain licenses and charge a fixed