Some of Rome’s Busiest Streets Will Lose Their Cobblestones for Asphalt

Jun 21, 2019

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Officials of the city of Rome just announced that they plan on removing cobblestones from public roads in some high-traffic areas. The change is, according to Lonely Planet, going to include 70 of the busiest thoroughfares in the city like Via Nazionale, Viale Aventino and Via IV Novembre. The cobbled streets will be paved with asphalt as a safety measure.

If you’ve been to Rome, you were likely told — among a long list of things you have to see, do and eat — that sensible footwear is an absolute must. And if you’ve been (and you made the mistake of wearing anything other than a reliable sneaker), you’re probably well aware of the sometimes treacherous cobblestone streets in the Eternal City.

Sampietrini pavement in Rome, Italy. May be used as background (Marco Rubino / EyeEm via Getty Images)
Sampietrini pavement in Rome, Italy (Marco Rubino / EyeEm via Getty Images)

Cobblestones are a significant part of Rome’s historical makeup. Known around Italy as sampietrini, which translates as “little St. Peters,” they’re named after St. Peter’s Square — the place where they were first laid down before spreading throughout the city. However, some of these stones are centuries old now. And over time, with tourism, the weight of cars, trucks and other vehicles, some of the paving stones have become dislodged and uneven, becoming a safety hazard to cyclists and scooter riders.

Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, announced that while these busy streets will no longer be made of cobblestone, officials plan on relocating the black basalt stones to less populated, pedestrian-friendly locations to preserve the historic character of Rome. This includes the likes of Via Condotti, by the Spanish Steps.

“For every cobblestone that we remove from one road, we will be re-laying them in another,” Roberto Botta, a member of Rome’s City Council, said.

Featured image by Eva-Katalin via Getty Images.

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