Warning: Sitting Down on Rome’s Spanish Steps Could Now Cost You $450

Vladislav Zolotov/iStock via Getty Images
Vladislav Zolotov/iStock via Getty Images

“I was just sitting here doing nothing” won’t get you out of trouble if a police officer blows their whistle at you on Rome’s Spanish Steps. In fact, just sitting there is the problem. Mayor Virginia Raggi and the rest of the Roman government recently passed a number of regulations to help preserve the city’s historical landmarks, which includes banning visitors from plopping down on the scenic stone steps.

The 18th-century Spanish Steps connect the Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church at the top with the Piazza di Spagna square below. The steps recently received a $1.7-million restoration funded largely by luxury brand Bulgari, which has operated a shop in the square since 1884. As Forbes explains, officers can now fine you up to $450 for failing to move along or soiling the steps in any way.

Some people think the sitting ban is extreme—Roman newspaper Il Messaggero opined that photos of the empty stairs conveyed “desolation” rather than strength, as reported by The New York Times—but most officials support the new rule. It’s not really sitting that proves most problematic, but rather the propensity for tourists to use the stairs as a place to take a snack or drink break. As David Sermoneta, the president of the Piazza di Spagna Trinità dei Monti Association, told The New York Times, “You couldn’t walk around the Metropolitan Museum snacking on food and slurping a Coke. We expect the same for the center of Rome.”

“Those restorations cost,” one police officer told The New York Times while gesturing to an apparent ice cream cone stain on the stairs. “Why shouldn’t we watch over the city’s monuments?” It’s safe to say that if Roman Holiday (1953) had been filmed this year, Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t have enjoyed her own ice cream cone while perched on the stairs.

Paramount Pictures

It’s not the only iconic film scene that the new laws would’ve foiled—Anita Ekberg’s sensual soak in the Trevi Fountain during La Dolce Vita (1960) would run her a $500 bill today. The city has also tightened restrictions on prostitution, mistreatment of animals, the sale of alcohol, and graffiti. The New York Times reports that according to Rome’s website, the rules aim to forbid behavior that is “not compatible with the historic and artistic decorum” of Rome in order to “guarantee decorum, security, and legality.”

But don’t let the stricter policies put a damper on your enthusiasm to experience all that Rome has to offer. Luckily, gelato is easy enough to eat on the go.

[h/t Forbes]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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What Is the Citizenship of a Baby Born on an International Flight?

Nadezhda1906/iStock via Getty Images
Nadezhda1906/iStock via Getty Images

It's pretty standard medical advice: a pregnant woman shouldn’t travel via airplane 36 weeks or later into her pregnancy. Despite that precaution, an occasional bundle of joy may still add an unexpected passenger to the flight manifest. As if giving birth at 40,000 feet wasn't already a stressful experience for a new mom, things can get even more hectic upon landing: Depending on the details surrounding the birth, her newborn’s citizenship could be up for debate.

There is no universal rule for how a country determines the citizenship of a newborn. Some countries just follow the jus sanguinis (right of blood) law, which means a baby’s nationality is determined by that of one or both parents. Others observe that rule and jus soli (right of the soil), where a country grants citizenship to a baby that’s simply born on its soil, regardless of the parents’ origin. These countries are mostly in the Americas and include the United States and Canada. And with the expansion of air travel, these laws had to extend to the heavens as well.

If a baby is born over United States airspace, the jus soli rule means the child would be granted U.S. citizenship, according to the Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual. Depending on the circumstances, the child may also be a candidate for dual citizenship if its parents are from a country that grants citizenship based on blood—though that would depend on the countries involved.

This same simplicity doesn’t extend to a jus sanguinis country, though. This means that an American mother can’t attain French citizenship for her baby just because she gave birth over French airspace. The baby would simply revert to the parent's U.S. citizenship, since the United States also generally follows jus sanguinis when a baby is born to U.S. citizens in a foreign country. Since jus sanguinis is the far more common rule around the globe, most babies born on a flight over international waters or foreign airspace will likely wind up taking the citizenship of its parents.

If there’s a case where the child could potentially be stateless—such as when a mother herself has no official citizenship and the baby is born in international airspace—the baby would likely take the citizenship of whatever country the plane itself is registered in, according to the United Nations’s Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness agreement.

Despite all these complex laws, mid-flight births are exceedingly rare—so rare, in fact, that most airlines don’t even keep track of the number of babies born in the air. An expecting mother likely wouldn't even be able to get onto a flight in the first place, since many airlines have rules that prohibit women from flying after they've reached a certain point in their pregnancy.

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