Selfie violence and illegal bathing at Rome’s Trevi Fountain

Balancing tourism and overcrowding is a difficult act at The Trevi Fountain, one of Rome's most famous attractions.

ROME — The quest for the perfect travel Instagram is a pursuit many of us are familiar with — but hopefully you wouldn’t take it as far as these selfie-takers.

Last week, two tourists in Italy both tried to snap a selfie in front of Rome’s Trevi Fountain at the same time.

They confronted one another — first verbally, but then the interaction became physical, before disintegrating into an eight-person brawl as their family members joined in the fight.

Police intervened and the tourists were reported for violence. The local police posted about the incident on Facebook.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the police said that two Canadian tourists had been fined 450 euros ($513) each for bathing in the fountain — another strict no-no, despite the iconic scene from Federico Fellini’s 1960 movie “La Dolce Vita.”

Jostling tourists

The Trevi Fountain is one of the world’s most recognizable attractions and its position as one of Rome’s most popular spots means the area in front of it is often overcrowded and full of jostling tourists.

The baroque water structure opened in 1762 and has a starring role in classic movies including “Three Coins in the Fountain,” and “Roman Holiday,” starring Audrey Hepburn.

Tradition dictates that if they desire to return to Rome one day, visitors should throw a coin over the left shoulder into the water,

Italian newspaper La Republicca reports that government officials were already considering trying to control the flow of tourists visiting the fountain by directing tourists to pass by the fountain single file, without stopping. This was trialled last summer on a temporary basis.

Last week’s violence might prompt lawmakers to make this extreme option more permanent.

The problem of overtourism

Rome isn’t the only Italian city balancing being a livable city with its status as a must-visit tourist destination. Earlier in 2018, Venice tried separating tourists and locals over the busy May Day weekend. Pedestrian traffic was policed in an attempt to avoid overcrowding.

Vacationer Faye Richards visited Venice that weekend and told CNN Travel crowds went hand-in-hand with the experience:

“In the center [the crowding] was really bad,” she said. “Especially on super-narrow streets you had to walk so slow behind everyone.”

Meanwhile, in the Italian island of Sardinia, officials are cracking down on another kind of tourism issue: sand thievery.

Thieves are being warned that they could be fined anywhere from 500 euros (roughly $580) to 3,000 euros (roughly $3,482) if they are caught pilfering from the island’s beautiful beaches.

Tourism issues aren’t confined to Italy, though. Chile’s Easter Island is limiting the number of people who can visit the island as well as the length of stay and Mount Everest is attempting to deal with the human impact of waste on the world’s highest peak.

If you’re planning to visit the Trevi Fountain any time soon, definitely snap that selfie while you can — just try to avoid fighting any fellow tourists for it.