ROME - ITALY is in danger of losing its reputation as a land of romance and passion, as everything from building sandcastles to sitting on public monuments has been banned.
Since Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi granted local city and town councils the extra powers to enforce 'public security', more than 150 new by-laws have been instituted reported the UK's Daily Telegraph on Saturday.
In Vigevano, a town near Milan, a young couple were slapped with a fine of 160 euros (S$280) for simply sitting on the steps of a local monument, the Daily Telegraph reported.
'It was really hot, so we just sat down for a moment,' said Giada Carnevale, 24. 'The only other alternative in the piazza is to go to a bar but there they charge you five euros just for a drink. We were just chatting - we weren't eating or drinking or smoking.'
Other new bans include kissing in a moving car in the town of Eboli, with a fine of 500 euro if caught; the building of sandcastles at Eraclea because they 'obstruct the passage' of people on the strand; smoking on the beaches of Oristano with a fine of 360 euros and wearing wooden clogs on the island of Capri.
The Italian media has decried the rash of new prohibitions, saying that they are a 'return to the bureaucratic straightjacket of the Mussolini era,' reported the Daily Telegraph. 'Kisses, clogs and beach balls - Italy, the country where everything is forbidden,' was a recent headline in La Stampa.