The Rome city council is making progress in its efforts to empty Piazza Navona of the many street vendors and artists who have their stalls in the square.

The illegal sellers moved on after the famous Christmas Fair which ended on 7 January, but that still left six legally recognised stalls selling Roman souvenirs, tee-shirts, baseball caps and Italian football club scarves and shirts and almost 60 assorted painters, caricaturists and portrait artists.

The souvenirs sellers have all accepted new plots in side-streets leading off Piazza Navona, in Piazza Risorgimento close to the entrance to the Vatican Museums, in Via del Corso and near the Pantheon.

Now the council is trying to reduce the number of artists in Piazza Navona to 32. Eleven have been offered places at the top of the Spanish Steps and 12 on the Ponte S. Angelo, the bridge over the Tiber, a favourite spot for illegal bag and souvenir sellers. Some have taken up the offer at the top of the Spanish Steps but most are unhappy with the new plans and are refusing to negotiate with the city council.

Representatives of the residents, hoteliers and shopkeepers in Piazza di Spagna do not like the idea of artists moving to the top of the steps and have suggested they should be offered places on the Rampa di S. Sebastianello, a neglected flight of steps nearby.