Tourists caught cooling off in Rome’s fountains

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Rome, Aug 1 (IANS/AKI) A group of tourists posed for selfies and paddled in 17th-century sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s masterpiece, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, in Piazza Navona here on Tuesday in searing temperatures before drifting away as police arrived.

On Sunday, a couple of newsweds filmed a man wading completely nude at another Rome landmark – the Fontana dell’Aqua Paola on the Janiculum Hill, near the Renaissance church of San Pietro in Montorio.

Police were called earlier last week to Piazza Mastai in the Trastevere district where a group of homeless people were cooling in searing summer temperatures and soaping themselves in a fountain commissioned by Pope Pius IX in 1860.

The Vatican turned off all the fountains in St Peter’s Square and the Vatican Gardens last Tuesday amid a growing water shortage in the capital and surrounding areas, which had just 26 days of rain this year.

Rome is sweltering in a heatwave of 40 degrees Celsius plus that has struck cities across Italy and faced severe water rationing until a deal struck on Monday between the Lazio region and utility company Acea averted this – at least until September.

Ten regions have asked the government to declare a state of emergency after Italy suffered the second-driest spring in 60 years and a 33 percent drop in rainfall in the first six months of the year.

–IANS/AKI

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