The Guardian, along with other outlets, are reporting on a huge life-saver for travelers – no more dodging crazy Roman drivers on the road in the heart of the Eternal City between the “Wedding Cake” at Piazza Venezia, and the Colosseo.
The death matches, of course, are those of human vs. machine.
Now, it will be only human vs. a few machines – Roman buses and Roman taxicabs. Given what I’ve experienced of Roman bus and cab drivers, I still don’t give the humans much of a chance. The Guardian photo above shows what a wonderful world it is of a happy bicyclist and far, far away, a single cab and a bus. Right…
They’ve been closing it to regular traffic on weekends for a few years now. But it’s never that empty even so. Here’s some shots from the last time I was there, in October 2008. Even though regular auto/truck traffic is stopped, there are still relatively large throngs of humanity. Remember, this was pretty deep into the off-season – mid October, long after the summers of Roman holidays, and before the Holy Season of Advent tourism.
Still quite crowded. The entrance to the Roman Forum is right at that nondescript brick wall in the right of this photo.
Hordes heading from the Vittorio Emmanuele monument to the Colosseo
Lots of folks in the general area.
Probably the only time, of her many visits to Italy, that my wife Lisa dared stand in the middle of this road:
Lisa’s tales from her first visit to Rome, in the early 1980s, years before I met her, included standing in terror for many minutes at Piazza Venezia, until a kindly older woman and family escorted her across the street. Heck, my memories of my first visit, in 1989, included me standing in terror trying to figure out how to cross the frantic giant vehicular vortex. I don’t have my negatives nor prints of my 1989 trip scanned, or I’d show you the difference.
Here are some of the ruins in the Forum itself. No, not caused by runaway Roman drivers. I don’t think.
Trust me, it’s never going to be as empty as in that had-to-be-staged shot from the Guardian at the top. I trust the Guardian on a lot of things, including their recent surveillance reporting, but the dearly loved “Graun” got disinfo on this street thing.