I’m sorry Rome, it wasn’t you, it was me. Actually it wasn’t either of us, it was the hordes of self absorbed idiots descending upon your cobbled streets, your unimaginable wealth of history and tradition. Ready to gorge at the groaning buffet of art, food, ambiance, but ignoring it all and eating three serves of ice cream.
We’d been to Rome before, but never for long enough – long enough that we could sample the museums, galleries and markets at a less than break neck speed. Long enough to let the amazing history wash over us and try to understand the incredible place this city holds in history.
10 days in the eternal city – sounds like bliss, right? I couldn’t wait to get out of there by the end, for my own sanity.
I simply could not get my head around the disrespect for the place, not only from the visitors, but whoever has governance of the city. Maybe some examples will illustrate my point:
So few visitors seemed actually interested in the architecture or the artworks. Museums were sparsely attended because that would involve some level of engagement. All that was of interest was documenting their presence (usually in half a dozen different outfits) at the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain etc. Ticking off places on the list. We actually saw teams of instaface-wannabees with suitcases of clothing, not giving a toss (that is the polite word) for anyone who might not want their breathtaking visage in the way. Climbing – unchallenged -over the buildings of the Forum. I wonder if there is any vestige of their amazing achievements in say, 2000 years?
People selling (and buying) crap. Splat balls, wilted roses and flying god knows what, all assail you as you try to take in the magic of the golden light bathing ancient temples and beautiful architecture. Calendars, selfie-sticks, plastic barbeque aprons with Michelangelo’s David printed on them. Surely, surely, the souvenir trade can be regulated? We saw a great busker being hauled away because he did not have a permit, but splat balls? Hell Yeah, the more the merrier.
Food – oh god the food. We all love Italian food. You won’t get it in Rome. Well, maybe but you’ll have to put in some hard yards and a wad of cash, or cook it yourself. I am of the firm belief that “pizza” should be like “champagne”.. Its provenance should be called into question. .
Rome, you’re killing yourself. I know it’s great to have the tourism money, but aren’t you insulted when your guests stomp all over you and leave without picking up anything of your history? I know, it’s not every visitor. But it’s a hell of a lot of them.
Please, protect your amazing city.