Is Rome in Ruins?

Is Rome Still Worth Visiting?

Author: The Traveling Professor/Sunday, December 30, 2018/Categories: Italy

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It pains The Traveling Professor to write a negative article on one of the great destinations of the world, Rome.  It is arguably the most historic city in the world, full of culture and great food.  However, travelers should be aware of what to expect when visiting The Eternal City.

The New York Times reads, "Rome in Ruins".  The Daily Beast says "Mafia Holds Rome Hostage - With Garbage". The Guardian reports "Tenth Bus Explodes in Rome this Year".  BBC says "Historic Rome Marred by Graffitti".  

What's happening in Rome?

To The Traveling Professor, this is nothing new.  The Professor originally commented on it back in 2015 in his blog post, "The Rome Problem". 

Unfortunately, Rome is no longer the city we saw in the film,  "Roman Holiday".  This is what we found:

Trash:  Trash is all over the place. It seems as if there are not enough collection sites or not enough resources have been dedicated towards sanitary services.

Graffiti:  Unfortunately, some of the most beautiful places have been marred by graffiti.  Fortunately, we did not see much evidence of this  on monuments or museums, but the graffiti is on nearly every building, subway and local train.

Harassment:  It is not unusual for a women to be rudely stared at or even pinched. Can you imagine that in this day and age?  Beggars and pickpockets are ubiquitous.  In all of my travels, Rome is the only place where I have come close to being mugged. 

Price Gouging: 10 euro for a bottle of coca cola near the Vatican?  50 euros for what should have been a 5-minute cab ride?  Watch your wallet in Rome and double-check your restaurant bill.

Transportation:  We have been traveling to Rome for over 10 years now.  Buses are less frequent and more crowded.  We won't even go on the subway during rush hour.  Roads are in terrible condition and the construction projects never seem to end. Buses are poorly maintained.

Overcrowding:  With the exception of the great Borghese Gallery which is one of the best managed museums in Italy, everything else is a disaster.  Lines stretch for hundreds and hundreds of feet at the Colosseum (we would post the URL for the Colosseum, but the website seems out of order) and Vatican Museum, with no protection from the sun. 

Is Rome worth visiting?  Of course it is. Take the proper precautions, don't visit during high season, and understand what is to be expected.

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