The U.S. billionaire chairman of AS Roma, James Pallotta, has apologized to the Mayor of Rome after he was spotted celebrating his team’s surprise victory over Barcelona by leaping into a city fountain. Pallotta has promised to pay a fine for his late-night dip in the Fontana dei Leoni in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo, where he and a large crowd of fans held an impromptu victory party after a 3-0 win sent Roma through to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in over 30 years. Up until both the win and his backward somersault into the fountain, the businessman did not enjoy a particularly warm relationship with Roma fans, who received huge cheers from the jubilant supporters. Less enthusiastic was the consumer association Codacons. The humorless group called it a “thoughtless and inappropriate act.” Pallotta was fined €500. He has not only agreed to pay the fine, but has also offered to donate €230,000 towards the restoration of another Roman fountain, the Fontana del Pantheon in front of the capital’s ancient former temple – and that is a most thoughtful and generous act.
Fountains Antics 2
A tourist from Poland was fined €500 after police in Rome caught him trying to scale the Trevi Fountain recently. Officers on patrol in the capital’s historic center discovered the man preparing to climb the famous fountain and ordered him to come down, but according to reports, he persisted in his attempt. Once the individual, a man in his 40s, was stopped and questioned, police slapped him with an on-the-spot fine of €500 under city ordinances that ban the public from sneaking into, clambering upon or otherwise endangering Rome’s historic landmarks. He also faces a ticket for failing to show police a valid ID. Rome’s heritage authorities have been informed and are checking the fountain for damage. The many iconic water features have weathered assaults before, including visitors’ many attempts to recreate Anita Ekberg’s famous splash in La Dolce Vita – with or without their clothes. The city deploys special monitors at some of its most famous monuments, including the Trevi fountain, to watch out for anyone bathing their feet or picnicking. Rome isn’t the only Italian city that faces a problem with unruly visitors. Venice has long battled to protect its landmarks from the tourist crowds and last week the city’s mayor threatened legal action after tourists were filmed diving off the Rialto Bridge into the Grand Canal.
Fountain Antics 3
It was only months ago that the recently restored Trevi Fountain ran red, after a man poured dye into the fountain’s basin. The last time the Trevi Fountain got a ‘dye job’ was in 2007. The previous incident was partly a protest against the cost of the Rome film festival, with the red waters symbolizing the red carpet. An Italian “vandalism artist,” Graziano Cecchini, later claimed responsibility for the act, which he insisted used natural dye that wouldn’t harm either the public or the 18th century marble fountain. In 2008, Cecchini struck another Roman landmark, rolling some 500,000 plastic balls down the Spanish Steps to symbolize each “lie told by a politician.”
The World’s Second Oldest Person
As of this month, 115-year-old Giuseppina Projetto of Italy is now the second oldest person alive in the world today. Projetto is affectionately known as ‘Nonna Pino.’ She was born to Sicilian parents in Sardinia in 1902, and is already the oldest living European. Following the death of the previous record holder who passed away at the age of 117, Nonna Pino, who turn 116 on May 30th, now finds herself in global second place. The top spot goes to Chiyo Miyako, a Japanese woman who is older by barely a month. Another Italian, Maria Giuseppa Robucci is in fourth place on the official ranking compiled by the international Gerontology Research Group. Nonna Peppa, as she is known, was born in March 1903 in Puglia, where she still resides today. Nonna Pina left her hometown more than 60 years ago for Montelupo Fiorentino in Tuscany, where she lives with her descendants in the family home. Dubbed the “Grandmother of Italy,” Projetto has been the world’s oldest Italian since 117-year-old Emma Morano died last April.
Elderly Man Fined for Slow Walking
An elderly man in north-west Italy was fined for crossing the street too slowly. The 85-year-old man, who walks with a slight limp, was crossing the road in Pinerolo, a town near Turin, when he was stopped by a police officer. He had failed to make it across the road before the green light turned to red, violating the town’s rules. The elderly man was issued a summons carrying with it a €41 fine. He quickly paid the fine, which earned him a reduction to €28.70. The town’s police chief was less than sympathetic. He indicated that if the man did not finish crossing while the light was green, then he was in violation. On hearing the news, Mayor Eugenio Buttiero said he would refund the fine out of his own pocket and speak to the overzealous officer who issued the summons. Pinerolo, at the foot of the Italian Alps, is famous for its bicycle races.