The small town of Laglio, Italy, is known for its picturesque views of placid Lake Como, the verdant, cypress-strewn peaks of its granite and limestone mountains, and—in the spring and summer—its naturally occurring George Clooney. Laglio has been the migratory home to George Clooney for a dozen years now, thrilling locals as he alights on the waters to swan about on his speedboat, then settle down at night in the nest of his 18th-century mansion. And other than putting the occasional strain on the village’s supply of supermodels, George Clooney has always been a welcome part of Laglio life. Indeed, to many the first sighting of George Clooney signals the changing of the seasons. But the attendant invasion of George Clooney-watchers is such that the mayor has now been forced to issue fines of $550 to anyone who treads too close to his habitat.
According to the Associated Press, Mayor Roberto Pozzi has declared a penalty of up to €500 for anyone who leaves their car or boat within 100 meters of Clooney’s nature reserve of two villas, where Clooney and his wife Amal roost. Pozzi says that those who gather and linger on the main road, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the majestic Clooney, can create “problems of public order.” This could upset the tranquility of Lake Como that is so crucial to George Clooney’s happiness, causing him unwanted stress. And that could lead to abnormal Clooney behaviors, like picking at his feathers or not riding his scooter.
Laglio has long posted notices around town warning residents not to get too close or attempt to feed George Clooney—and that if they were to come across a baby George Clooney, not to handle it with human hands, lest George Clooney reject it. Some say it’s led to what they liken to “living in a mini-dictatorship”—though Pozzi says the signs and new fines “aren’t aimed at repression.” In fact, if one tourist comes by to take a photo, he says, “that’s okay,” you won’t be fined or banished from the village, blindfolded on a donkey. The penalties are more about creating a larger awareness of the ecological importance of celebrity preservation, and the effect that upsetting celebrities could have all the way down the food chain.
And by doing so, Pozzi also hopes that he’s made this remote, romantic Italian village welcoming enough that George Clooney will once more wing his way there soon. “We haven’t seen him since he got married,” Pozzi said wistfully. “We’ll see if he comes in his usual period.” In the meantime, Pozzi will watch the skies, waiting for the telltale crowing that says George Clooney is here—and that everyone should take a step back.