On 11 September Piazza Venezia was the scene of a flash mob protesting against the influx of private coaches on Rome's streets.
The hour-long protest, organised by the Partito Democratico (PD), saw the protesters waving t-shirts that read "Stop pullman" and carrying banners urging the mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno to take action.
The group protested against what it sees as the invasion of the historic centre by tourist coaches, aggravating Rome's already congested state and adding to the city's pollution by keeping the engines running while parked.
The protesters highlighted the 2010 traffic law which authorises private coaches to stop anywhere it is not expressly prohibited. "Outside hotels, restaurants, residences, schools and offices – practically everywhere" according to PD councillor Athos De Luca, who spoke at the event – "the latest step was to open up the city's bus lanes to private coaches".
The recent proliferation of coaches has caused divisions between those who see them as a nuisance and those who view them as easing the transportation of tourists, vital for Rome’s economic survival.
Over a week in late August, traffic police carried out checks on more than 1,500 private coaches, fining 211 drivers for traffic offences and withdrawing 49 short-stay permits because they were misused or had expired.