Italian hamlet where Clooney summers hikes fines for gawkers
ROME (AP) -- Linger too long near George Clooney's Italian villa in hopes of catching a glimpse of the actor-director and his new bride and you may pay dearly.
The town of Laglio, where Clooney bought an 18th-century mansion with private dock on Lake Como a dozen years ago, has hiked fines for those who create "problems of public order" when gathering to gawk on the main road behind the villa or approach by boat closer than 100 meters (110 yards) offshore.
Mayor Roberto Pozzi said by phone Tuesday that he signed ordinances last week introducing fines as stiff as 500 euros ($550), five times higher than before. The twin-ordinances -- one to discourage land-based out-of-town gawkers, the other for boat-based voyeurs -- run through the end of September, covering the spring-summer period when Clooney usually stays in Laglio, at the base of forested foothills stretching toward the Alps.
Clooney married London-based human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in September in Venice.
"We haven't seen him since he got married," Pozzi said. "We'll see if he comes in his usual period."
Pozzi says so far "common sense" has prevailed and no one has been fined.
The ordinances, posted around town, "aren't aimed at repression," said the mayor. "If a tourist wants to come by the villa and take a photo, that's OK." Instead, by raising fines, the town wants to discourage what he called "knots of people" from gathering and lingering, posing traffic dangers on the busy road.
Pozzi noted Italian law already forbids boating within 50 meters of shore. Sports club canoes are exempt from the ordinance.
Townspeople have enjoyed good-neighbor relations with Clooney and his frequent Hollywood-star houseguests. The celebrity put sleepy Laglio on the tourist map. The mayor said property values for choice villas have tripled.
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