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Italy, Safety

Finally good travel news! Death matches ended at Colosseum

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.

Woman bicycles past the Colosseum on a totally empty road, with one cab and one bus far behind her, no other traffic.

Photo from the Guardian article. Photograph: Riccardo De Luca/AP, all rights reserved.

Rome bans cars on road to Colosseum as part of pedestrianisation plan | World news | theguardian.com.

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.

Colosseum, Forum behind wall to right, mostly empty-of-cars street, many people

Off season on a Sunday in 2008 – © 2008 Mark Mercer CC BY-NC-SA

Hordes heading from the Vittorio Emmanuele monument to the Colosseo

Off season on a Sunday in 2008 people walking from the Wedding Cake to the Forum entrances and the Colosseum – © 2008 Mark Mercer CC BY-NC-SA

People on and near the grounds of the Colosseum, with the Victor Emmanuel Monument in the background. – © 2008 Mark Mercer CC BY-NC-SA

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 in a black dress, expansive black furry (fake) hat, and a dark blue Uruguayan bag, in the centerline of the Fori Imperiali road.

Woman vs. Machine. Fortunately for Lisa Mercer, the only machine nearby is that rather ominous-looking baby pram. – © 2008 Mark Mercer, all rights reserved, no reuse.

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.

View of ruins inside the Forum.

Inside the Forum grounds, a hundred meters or so from that busy street – © Mark Mercer CC BY-NC-SA

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.

 

About Mark Mercer

Expat aging sometime-ski-bum former corporate tool. Currently living in the beachside aging resort town of Atlántida in Uruguay. Sometimes skiing and teaching in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Location and velocity cannot be simultaneously observed.

Discussion

2 Responses to “Finally good travel news! Death matches ended at Colosseum”

  1. Don’t you think the bigger news is the lowered emissions right near those old ruins? That pollution is terrible! Get the cars out of Roma!

    Posted by JasonR | 2013-08-13, 18:51
  2. 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.

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    Posted by dylnenett | 2013-08-27, 09:18

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