It’s taken some two thousand years, but the last centurions have finally been expelled from Rome. But the centurions who were this week banished from the Eternal City weren’t real centurions (obviously), but impersonators who gave tourists the chance to be photographed with them in front of landmarks such as the Roman Colosseum – sometimes for as much as €5 (AU$7.50).
The move to ban the modern-day centurions from tourist sites comes as Rome prepares for the Catholic Holy Year, or Jubilee, which will be held in December and is expected to draw millions of extra tourists to the city. Additional security measures are also in place.
“These individuals often act inappropriately, they are persistent and at times aggressive,” Rome’s city hall said in a statement, adding that the Centurions threatened the “respectability” of the city’s many monuments.
But the Centurions aren’t the only tourist “traps” to have been targeted by officials, with rickshaw rides and other wheeled vehicles now forbidden in some parts of town, and those peddling tour or museum tickets also banned, AFP reported.
A report in the Italian paper, Il Messaggero, estimated the Centurions, many of whom travel hours to the tourist sites, could take home up to €400 (AU$600) a day, or €12,000 ($17,000) a month, tax-free.