Bars and restaurants in Rome face losing their licences if they put tables and chairs out onto public spaces without proper authorisation. The historic centre is getting tough with owners who flout the new laws in what is being called the new frontier on public dcor. Council leader, Giuseppe Lobefaro, says its time traders woke up and realised they can no longer spoil Romes most beautiful areas with plastic sunshades. In 2005, some 69 premises were warned by council authorities and closed down for several days. On top of that, they were fined 170 for breaching street regulations plus 300 per square metre of public space illegally used. It is not just a problem of controlling unauthorised expansions but also about the degradation of public spaces in general, remarks Luca Odevaine, deputy mayor of Rome. The bars and restaurants in question are located in the most famous parts of town: from Campo de Fiori to Piazza Navona to Piazza della Cancelleria to Via S. Giovanni in Laterano.
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