As Joni Mitchell sings, “They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot” . . . Rome Cobblestone Roads are Being Asphalted
After 2,000 years, Rome will replace some of their cobblestone roads with asphalt. Most of the stones to be replaced over the next few months were laid down in the 16th and 17th centuries. Soon, even the ancient Roman stones may be replaced in all but the pedestrian walkways and piazzas.
The old cobblestones, known as “sampietrini” (sampietrini translates as little stones of St. Peter’s) were originally used in St. Peter’s Square.
Cherish The Remaining Cobblestones
Paving of the Via Delle Botteghe Oscure and stretches of roads that run along the Tiber River were prioritized.
More roads will be paved over time, leaving only a small number of cobblestone walkways in the city. The cobblestones will be left in place in Piazza Venezia, a large square in the heart of Rome and the Fori Imperiali which connects the Coliseum with the forum.
What is driving this change?
The stones are prone to potholes, replacements are difficult to produce, the existing stones are expensive to repair (only 8 people are trained to replace cobblestones) and the vibrations from cars and buses driving on the old roads damage historic monuments and palaces.
The stones also pose a danger to scooters and high heels, especially when they are wet and become slippery.