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Centurions addio? PDF Print E-mail
Apr 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM

Image Tourists pose for pictures with them, for which they are usually asked to pay some amount of euros, others point them out with delight and snap away, offering a handful of change, and yet others, those who are a bit more familiar with Roman history, think it's pretty stupid to see a bunch of grown men (most of whom are probably unemployed) dressed up in rented or purchased centurions' costumes and wandering around the outskirts of the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. But if the Rome city government and the Lazio region have their way, the counterfei centurions may have to find other jobs.
Once upon a time, back in the mid-nineties, some of those dressing up today as Roman soldiers had permits as "street artists" but those authorizations have not been renewed since 2000 and the Roman police, not known for their commitment to the rule of law, have long tolerated the would-be warriors' presence around some of the capital's most important antiquities.
What's different now? Who knows? On March 26, the Region of Lazio, the region that surrounds the city of Rome, issued a decree forbidding people masquerading in historical costumes, street actors, and musicians from performing in this area. In addition, the city government is considering a ruling that would forbid, street actors, painters, acrobats, mimes, jugglers and other mountebanks from exhibitions in the city's piazzas for more than two hours at a time, only between ten a.m. and one p.m. and between 4 pm and 8 pm, and at at least ten meters distance from any church or place of worship. This seems pretty reasonable to me but let's see what happens. This city is well known for passing rules and then not instructing the people who work for them - for example the city police -- to enforce them.

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