Italian billionaire calls tourists on the Spanish Steps “barbarians”


After a serious renovation, most people fear that someone is going to muck up their new, expensive furniture. Paolo Bulgari — the chairman to the Bulgari jewelry house and the nephew of its founder — has taken that fear a little too far.

The Italian billionaire paid $1.7 million to restore the Spanish Steps in Rome after years of tourists (and locals) eating, drinking, smoking and engaging in all sorts of unclean activities there had left the steps filthy and black. The now-clean steps are going to be revealed this week, but Bulgari isn’t happy about the fact that they may get dirty again.

“I am worried,” he told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, “If we don’t set strict rules, the steps will go back to being used as a camping site for barbarians.”

His solution to said problem is not that much different than a certain American billionaire’s solution to most problems: build a wall. Or rather, a fence or a Plexiglas barrier, so that people can still see the steps — but not climb on them. Very friendly.

And also like a certain billionaire, unfortunately, we need to take Bulgari’s idea  seriously because he did pay for the restoration (in exchange for a massive tax break). At least his wall will be transparent. [NBC]