All Holes Lead to Rome

This was the headline on a story in today’s Il Tempo, one of Rome’s two major dailies, but it’s an issue that’s been on the minds of many of us for some time now, particularly if your vehicle is, like mine, of the two-wheeled variety. Rome’s streets have been a mess for some time now, the result partly of empty city coffers, of inadequate maintenance, and perhaps also of crummy original street paving.

But with the extremely wet weather of recent weeks things have gotten so bad that you have to be extremely careful if you want to get home safely. In fact, there have been so many accidents, and so many complaints by consumer and citizen groups that the city has now admitted that emergency action is required. A new city police task force, reportedly with six million euros to spend, has surveyed the city’s street network and has identified some 250,000 square meters of street that need urgent attention. Emergency repairs are supposed to begin tomorrow and last until the beginning of March.

In the meantime, caution should prevail. And we are not just talking about outlying areas of the Italian capital. After five days of nearly incessant rain, there are large holes in downtown Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso, on the Ostiense around the Piramide and the Circus Maximus, and even near the presidential palace on the Quirinale Hill. And let’s not forget my own neighborhood, Trastevere, where when riding my Honda I have to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me to avoid having an accident. Very scary.

Normally, if you see a hole in the street, you could call the city number, 060606, and leave a message with the appropriate section, feeling fairly sure that in a few days time it would be patched. But at the moment, there are just too many.

And then there is the problem of the cobblestones that many visitors find quaint but which are dangerous and bumpy even in the best of circumstances. In rain (and sleet) they become downight treacherous.

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