Roman numerals to go? Let’s not exaggerate

romestreetsignThe Rome city government last week reportedly decided to conform to a 2014 decision by the Italian Statistics Agency (ISTAT) that all street signs in the country have to be written in the same way and, in particular, without using Roman numerals.

Hence a lead story in the Rome section of the Messaggero newspaper saying that the city had decided to eliminate Roman numerals and thus was reneging on an important part of it’s history. “The city is getting rid of Roman numerals from everywhere. Goodby to the traditional numbers of the Empire, from marble street signs to utilities bills”, said Il Messaggero

But wait! Didn’t the Messaggero journalists bother to READ the ISTAT bulletin? This specifically states that the new regulations, designed to standardize and better identify the subjects of street names (and thereby addresses) throughout the country, only apply to NEW street signs and NEW documents. So, if the stone street sign on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is not destroyed by vandals, it can stay that way, forever. And if your ID card lists your address as 240 Via IV Novembre, it will remain that way until you are for some reason issued a new one, when it will instead read (ick!) 240, Via Quattro Novembre.

Everyone knows that Il Messaggero has been out to get Mayor Ignazio Marino from the start. I don’t like him either, and hold his administration responsible for much of the current degrado (deterioration) of which those of us who live in Rome are only all too painfully aware.

But blaming the Marino administration for this is simply just ridiculous. Come on Messaggero journalists, pull up your socks!


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