Tourists hail new Rome Spanish Steps pedestrian zone

Drivers complain of rerouting away from central tourist hot-spot

(ANSA) - Rome, August 4 - Tourists hailed as "wonderful" the implementation Monday of a new pedestrian zone near Rome's Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna.
    "Cars not allowed? I think that is right and normal," said Thomas from Germany vacationing in Rome with his family.
    "In Rome, which is an open-air museum, it should not be otherwise". The city threatens fines of up to 80 euros for drivers entering the pedestrian zone, which will remain in place until the end of November.
    Some local residents complained that closing the square entirely will force more traffic onto other nearby streets, such as Via Condotti.
    Delivery trucks also complained that it will be harder for them to unload goods for stores in the area, while business associations called for close monitoring to ensure the area doesn't become an informal 'souk' for street vendors.
    Taxi drivers seemed divided, with at least one welcoming the closure.
    "A place like this needs to be returned to the people," said one.
    The closure will extend down part of Via del Babuino and Via di Ripetta, which both branch off from the Piazza di Spagna.
    The move comes after Rome's city council agreed to a partial pedestrianization of the Via dei Fori Imperiali near the iconic Colosseo.