Rome bans fake centurions and guides

Rome orders centurions and rickshaws off tourist sites.

Rome commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca has banned centurions from posing with tourists at the city's archaeological and tourist sites, two weeks before the launch of the Vatican's Holy Jubilee of Mercy.

The order, signed on 25 November, also prohibits rickshaws and tour guide touts from operating around Rome's ancient monuments and St Peter's.

The ban was imposed "in the interests of security" and to "protect the decency of the city's artistic, historic and monumental heritage,” and carries a penalty of €400.

In the past the city has tried, and failed, to ban the fake centurions and gladiators who are known for their exorbitant fees and often aggressive behaviour.

In September the unauthorised souvenir-photo posers made international news when they attacked a Romanian film crew for failing to pay their requested €100 fee.

A recent report in the daily Rome newspaper Il Messaggero suggested that the costumed impersonators can earn up to €12,000 a month in tax-free cash.