Un Minuto con…

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com


“Leave it to the Romans”

A Urine Tax (Vectigal Urinae) ?

The Romans were very creative when it came to new taxes. After all, Emperor Vespasian needed lots of money to build the Coliseum in 70AD.

Under Nero’s rule, Rome lost its magic and Vespasian, who succeeded Nero, needed to create some excitement for the city by building the Coliseum to keep the citizens of Rome entertained.

To fill Rome’s tax coffers, he came up with a tax on the distribution of urine from public urinals found all over the city.  The Roman lower class citizens urinated into pots which emptied in cesspools.

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The urine collected from public urinals was sold as an ingredient for several chemical processes. It was used for tanning and also by launderers as a source of ammonia to clean and whiten clothes.

The buyers of the urine paid the tax.

In 1834 the City of Paris introduced public toilets and called them Vespasiennes, at first there was a small charge but the modern day toilets are free. However, the advertisements on the side of the toilets are a revenue stream for modern day cities.

As you can see, there has never been a tax that the city officials disliked.


Did you Know?

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. In the Renaissance era, it was fashion to shave them off!

Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

This entry was posted in Culture, History, Italy, Roman Empire and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Un Minuto con…

  1. EmilyAnn Frances says:

    I enjoy little tidbits like this. They make for great conversation starters.

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