On October 1, 2012 Rome’s fascist dictator Mayor Gianni Alemanno passed an ordinance that prohibits the consumption of sandwiches, pizza, gelato, and other food on and around Roman monuments. Fines for violating the new law will range from €25 to €500. I have personally protested this law by eating at least 2 sandwiches and 3 gelatos a day in public.

But you can help protest too! Tomorrow Saturday October 6 at 1:00pm, join me at the Capitoline Hill for Rome’s first gastro flash mob.

This is how it will go down:

1:00pm Meet at the bottom of the Cordonata staircase leading up to Piazza del Campidoglio. If you want, come with a sandwich. Otherwise, sandwiches will be provided. Hide your sandwich and everyone will independently enter Piazza del Campidoglio pretending to be a tourist.

1:30pm Wait for the trumpet to signal the beginning of the flash mob. Once the trumpet sounds, sit on the steps and commence “indecent” sandwich consumption.

Soon after, another trumpet sound will announce the end of the flash mob. Everyone will get up and go on his or her way.

It will all be filmed and put online as a protest against Alemanno’s sandwich tyranny.

Special guest Roy Paci will play the trumpet. The following will be providing sandwiches and pizza: Beppe e I Suoi Formaggi, Bottega Liberati, Gabriele Bonci, ‘Ino, 00100 Pizza, Primo al Pigneto, Laboratorio Agricolo Panella, Roscioli, Tricolore.

More details on Facebook.

Explore related categories:
Carbs · Culture · Food & Wine · Rome & Lazio

28 Comments:


  • I so wish I could be there but am heading up to Abruzzo mountains for the weekend. Glad to see all the great participants, and to see the Tredicini’s horrible panino trucks are not invited.


  • If our visit is done by then we’ll come over.


  • BTW if the problem is about litter why not provide more trashcans? As well, coming from CA to Italy has been eye opening in terms of litter. Italians are the worst litterers I have ever encountered but they focus on tourists? I’ve been known to put trash in my purse rather than leave it on the street but most of my Italian friends would not think twice about leaving a gelato cup. In fact, I was once told that littering, “creates jobs.” Shoot me now.


  • I’ll be with you in spirit.


  • I’m with Sarah. This city has a ridiculous shortage of public trash cans, always has, and the ones it does have are always overflowing. Plus I’ve encountered tons of adult Italians who have no qualms about literally throwing entire bags of food trash on the sidewalk, not to mention cigarette butts, etc. Not to over generalize but honestly, I can see that Italian mentality in that it “creates jobs.” Everyone gotta be “sistemati” so …

    This sounds like fun. I think I’ll stop down and be a part of it, as I have a sitter (Hallelujah). Can’t wait to see the video and the reactions. If they try to arrest us I’ll start chating “hell no, we won’t go” ;-)

    Need a flash mob to get American tourists to stop calling a single sandwich a paninI (pet peeve)


  • Well, now that I have derailed all of my colleagues by starting an office debate about crazy Roman laws, I think I better put my money where my mouth is. Plus, the sandwich providers are legit.

    A domani!


  • I’ll be with you in spirit. Seems a crazy law whichever way you look at it.


  • I have a tour at the Farnesina and hope to be done by 1:15.


  • You’ got to be kidding me! Not the flash mob, the public food ban. I don’t live here, but I have been here for a total of 5 months this year. One of the *first things I noticed and mentioned to a friend was the lack of trash cans, ESPECIALLY around beautiful monuments, piazzas, and the most historical (& frequented by people) areas. I’m from San Francisco, so yes we do a pretty good job with litter compared to a lot of places. But I have to agree with the other folks… Italians really don’t seem to give a crap. I do the purse thing too if nothing is around. Me and my friend have had lengthy discussions after seeing Italians not only just toss their trash down wherever they are, but even worse… right where there happens to be ONE LONE TRASH CAN 3 feet away, and not overflowing. I just don’t get it. I’m here now, so I’m definitely joining in on this!


  • […] La protesta è anche internazionale. […]


  • If only Italians would recycle effectively, clean up after themselves (and their dogs) and stop turning the streets of the eternal city (not the historic center ones of course, since someone is always there to clean up after them!) into permanent garbage dumps!
    I mean a truck broke down on my street 3 weeks ago. Another came to the rescue. It got fixed. Surprise, there was an enormous battery left on the sidewalk after they left. It’s still there!
    So if dropping crumbs on the pavement is more important than a leaking battery on the sidewalk… I’m speechless… I’m also doubting that the “vigili” will actually enforce the law when none of them speak a foreign language and they actually give out fines??? Go explain a Japanese that eating in the streets of Rome is forbidden! Good Luck!
    This is another completely ridiculous and useless law. I hope I can make it because sandwiches by Gabriele Bonci must be heaven to eat!


  • Ha ha, saw my Italian ex-husband today. He’s a lawyer. First thing out of his mouth “Everyone’s going to get arrested and fined. You have to have a permit for organized demonstrations.” Nice. My wager is on the carabinieri asking for a Bonci sandwich.


  • Stupid and pointless ordinance from a not-so-clever mayor, that’s a fact. But calling him a fascist dictator?!

    And Sarah May: “Italians are the worst litterers I have ever encountered”. I’m guessing you haven’t travelled that much, then.
    As an Italian living in America, I can tell you I have seen places over here that are not that good either. And since you seem to despise us that much – as much of the Americans living in Italy do (Oh my God Italy is so beautiful, but the Italians…) – maybe you shouldn’t organize tours down there.

    Anyway, have fun tomorrow and buon appetito.
    Wish I could have a gelato tiramisù e stracciatella now :)


  • The Japanese have a very conservative public culture and I can’t recall ever seeing Japanese in Rome congregating on the steps of Michaelangelo-designed piazze to eat sandwiches. Mainly, it is Americans who can’t seem to stop eating 24/7. I don’t think the flash mob group is going to have much trouble “pretending” they are tourists. They are. I realize the usual public culture of a comments sections on a blog is supposed to be “rah-rah” from the fans, the and I am not a friend of Rome’s mayor, but I don’t have a problem with tourists being told that the public culture of Rome isn’t to drip ice cream and tomato grease on beautiful places in Italy (Rome isn’t unique in having these laws).

    In short, I’ll sit out the flash mob and have a slow lunch with friends. Tutti a tavola a mangiare!


  • A bit of overkill; don’t you think? (the ordinance, not the flash mob). We’ve been taking our kids to Italy since they were toddlers and had many, many picnic lunches, though usually in a park and not sitting on church steps or the like. And we always cleaned up after ourselves. Moreover, if we took our (then-small) children for a long, leisurely lunch, I’m sure people would have complained about the kids disrupting their meal. Will banning small children altogether be next?


  • […] […]


  • Katie, you I know I love you. You know I am with you 99.9% of the time. But I am really not getting this. Not that I am against the flash mob or anything, but I am *not* against this law – especially as it is not forbidding to *eat* but *camping*(bivacco) and *halting* (sostare) for eating & drinking. here is the link to the law itself (instead of indirect reports) http://www.comune.roma.it/PCR/resources/cms/documents/ordinanza_anti_bivacco_ottobre_2012.pdf And they are making pretty valid points as to why, too. (abbandono di varie specie di rifiuti alimentari e non, anche con pericoloso scolature di liquidi) I have seen the spanish steps covered with trash many many times. Do they need to supply more trash cans all over the city? oh yes! Is it the most important problem Rome has? Of course not! And it is Italians and tourists who leave trash, true. But I really don’t see any wrong with this rule. I would love to discuss this (tomorrow?) with you – I guess I am not seeing something crucial that all of you seem to get.

  • Katie

    Hi Castagne thanks for your brilliant comment about American eating habits. How astute you are. Perhaps you can take time away from being a genius to read the entire post. The flash mob was not organized by tourists. Feel free to google sponsors like Roscioli for evidence. Except for the 4 out of town visitors I brought with me everyone there was Italian including me.

    Hande I love u. Also this law is redundant. There are already (unenforced) laws against littering. So if i can manage to eat food and not make a mess i would like to be rewarded by not paying a fine. And there are other less hygienic and more slippery drips of liquid on the street all over town that dog owners leave to languish in front of monuments. Public urination and defacation is also prohibited and widely practiced (CPP baby!). Th more I think about it, Rome is gross!


  • CPP. That’s hilarious. Holds a special place in my heart.


  • I’ve seen the flash mob written about by the Italian Press. Nothing in English yet. I hope you will write a “sviluppo” on the blog, with an update on the day’s happenings.


  • Just had to google cpp. If it is not canada pension plan you are talking about: ewww, gross. (i knew this. I don’t want to get into the types of liquids found on the streets of rome).
    On a serious note, i think now i understand. Wasn’t italy the country with the most laws? They are just never enforced. Sigh.


  • I’ll clue you in about CPP in a Twitter DM b/c I don’t want to hijack the thread. ;-)

  • Katie

    CPP is the cracky park near my house in rome where people shit in clear view while i do romanian deadlifts with a kettle bell (courtesy of coach g; for the deadlifts, not the poopoo)

  • Katie

    tiz, i was just kidding. im prone to fits of hyperbole. also, sarah should stay here. she is an amazing professor and guide and does much to promote italian culture in spite of the cynical consequences, of which we are all guilty


  • Tiz-Actually I said I was from California whch was some of the strictest laws regarding environent in the country and yes I’ve travelled. I’ve lived in 4 different countries including Germany and Australia and travelled to at least 30 countries and not for short amounts of time. Hel I lived in Mexico for 3 months and there is a lot ot litter there as well. And still I have to say that living in Lazio has been incredible. I live in the Castelli Romani and every 50 m someone dumps out loads of garbage even though there are dumpsters 10 ft away. Our neighbors had to build a huge fence around their land because people used it as a dumpster. THat is Genzano. However go to the next town over and they have amazing recycling programs and there is no trash (Lanuvio) Why do people have to get so Nationalistic when someone makes an observation about where they live. Oh the usual, you are not Italian, get out of here and you are not entitled to an opinion, only Italians are entitled to an opinion. Look, I own a house here, pay property tax and I think I have the right to not want people dumping their garbage in front of my house? I am sure now, you’ll make some racist comment about the people not being Italian but Rom, Romanian or Albanian, but I’ve see people dump and heard them speak. They were people in my neighborhood that live here. I am married to a Italian, most of my friends are Italian and he obviously has a family and I have seen a majority of them leave trash on the street and many of them made comments on trash creating jobs. It is based on my own personal experience. Not a blanket statement on Italy. If the gov’t has a problem with trash in the city center, suplly more trash cans, easy. tourism is a VERY important part of the economy in Rome and laws like this are bad for Rome because maybe people will think Rome is a police state and not want to visit.

    CPP Oh my god that is the best.


  • […] this reason, I joined the flash mob at the Campidoglio yesterday. I came strapped with crochette and suppli’ from Antico Forno Roscioli, one of the […]

  • Katie

    Here’s a recap of what went down at the protest yesterday (with link to video)

    http://www.parlafood.com/flash-mob-against-roman-ordinance/


  • […] from one client. And not as if I’m such a?femes?blogger to make a significant change (kind of tempted to make a flash mob going here with EVERYONE taking pictures) but still […]

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