Romes mayor, Walter Veltroni, has announced that the city council will debate a special package of laws to empty Piazza Navona of stall holders and artists, whether they have a permit to be there or not.

Piazza Navona is home to 67 legally authorised artists, portrait painters, caricaturists and souvenir sellers. But over the past few years the square has filled with people selling everything from handbags to bubble-making guns, football shirts to tattoos, sunglasses to Cds without a licence to trade.

The mayor says he wants all traders out of the square, but that those who now have a valid permit to trade will be moved gradually to a new suitable site such as St Peters, Villa Borghese, Trastrevere and S. Giovanni. The licence holders have already said that they will refuse to move.

Bars and restaurants will be asked to reduce the number of tables they have outside and to close some of their umbrellas so that tourists may have a clear view of the historic monuments. However it is usually the municipio council for the historic centre not the city council that has jurisdiction over street regulations in the square.

The traditional Piazza Navona Christmas market, from 8 December to 6 January will go ahead as usual, although it will be reduced in size once again and the stalls permitted will be carefully vetted.