What first seemed to be an innocent way to cool off, has turned into a repulsive act of public obscenity, as two foreigners ignored the literal meaning of the saying, “When in Rome, do as Romans do.”
Italian citizens, media and the internet community at large have expressed their fury over two tourists having stripped down to their waists to bath in a fountain in the scorching hot Italian capital, right by a monument comprising the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier honoring those who perished during the First World War.
In an episode accidentally captured on camera by an onlooker and consequently published in a blog, one of the two men, who reportedly spoke English to each other, even pulled down his underpants to reveal his genitals, which immediately fueled a storm of condemnation. Luca Bergamo, the deputy mayor of Rome, rushed to comment that the behavior, which he has blasted “in the strongest terms,” “offends each one of us, as well as the memory of those who died for our country.”
“Behaving like this shows stupidity and ignorance and a lack of respect for the history of Rome and of Italy,” he stated, rounding off that the perpetrators would be “punished with the maximum penalties possible, once they are identified.
Bergamo’s rhetoric was echoed by Italian deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini: “Italy is not their home bathroom,” he retorted.
The local police billed the incident, which occurred on Sunday, as “illegal and offensive” and stated they were trying to track the offenders down.
Italian media also chimed in the debate, with La Repubblica, one of the country’s biggest dailies, portraying Rome “under siege from the new barbarians,” while Corriere della Sera referred to the incident as “the longest in a long act of idiocies.”
Twitter users in their turn dwelled on the fact that the incident had profaned the monument, the Altare della Patria.
No cpuntry in the world woud accept such a behaviour. Beeing a tourist dosn’t mean you are over the lows. Shame on them!
Roma, nudi nella fontana di piazza Venezia. La goliardata in pieno giorno sotto gli occhi dei turisti https://t.co/57RYS2TgsV via @fattoquotidiano
— Guide Nicole Schiel (@Guidefromvienna) 22 августа 2018 г.
I’m bringing it up because the fountain they were bathing in, is a monument to Italy’s war dead.
If people were running around naked around the Cenotaph there would be an outrage, however legal nudity may be.They were ignorant and disrespectful in another country. When in Rome…
— JoJo💚London #FBPE (@cojojonudo) 21 августа 2018 г.
If you can’t behave like a civilized representative of your home, please don’t travel: Rome fountain strippers sought by Italy police, and deserve to be punished. What an embarrassment. https://t.co/xqQjwo69TQ
— Robert James Connors (@R_James_Connors) 22 августа 2018 г.
Rome has had to put up with frequently unacceptable behavior by tourists who frolic in fountains, urinate in the streets and leave inscriptions on the Colosseum’s ancient walls.