Rome is overwhelming. But I have some reservations. Compared with other European cities its facilities for visitors are primitive. The main bus and tram station in front of the central station was a free for all for traffic (this is true of the city as a whole), and the melted tarmac was churned up into waves so that one had to totter across a petrified sea to catch a bus.
The ticket machines for the Metro were generally not working and there were vast queues for the one booth that seemed to be open. Indeed, queueing seemed to be imposed upon all visitors who wished to see any of the city's sights. Moreover, if you had a mobility difficulty, such as being confined to a wheelchair, you could forget a place like the Forum, which required climbing gear to explore it - so steep were the steps. There was litter everywhere.
In contrast Vatican City appeared well cared for and receptive to visitors. I wondered how much of the money made from visitors to Rome was being fed back into the conservation of monuments and improvements in facilities. I visited Rome for the first time in March 2006, and I would be interested to know if more recent visitors have seen progress in these respects.
Rome, Italy, Eternal City.
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