Is Rome Dirty? Is Florence Better or Worse?

Is Rome Dirty? Is Florence Better or Worse?

I keep reading in travel forums about how dirty Rome is. In fact, there are a lot of debates about which is dirtier – Rome or Florence. From the writing I suspect that most of these comments come from Americans.

So I have to ask? What were these travelers’ expectations? Did they really think that the streets would be cleaned with Purell every day? For those not familiar with Purell, it is a hand sanitizer that we American’s are obsessed with.

Rome and Florence are big cities that see thousands if not millions of visitors each year. It must take a Herculean effort to keep ahead of the trash these tourists throw away on an hourly basis much less a daily basis. And who is to blame if tourists throw their trash on the street rather than a trash can?

I visit Rome and Florence as often as I can and find them no dirtier than New York, Chicago, Atlanta or any other large US city. Florence with its dark buildings and narrow alley’s may give the appearance of being dirty and there is no question that the buildings in both cities suffer the effects of pollution.

I once took a trip to Newfoundland where the residents of some of the smaller communities threw their garbage out the back door. If the temperature had ever gotten above 50F the smell would have been overwhelming. And I suspect that Naples is a little ripe right now with the month’s long garbage strike. But you should never judge Italy by what happens in Naples, that would be a huge mistake on many levels.

Granted compared to Salt Lake City, Rome and Florence are dirty, but then again getting a drink of alcohol in Salt Lake City is like trying to buy an illegal drug.

I have to wonder – where do all these people who think Rome and Florence are so dirty live?


  • Natalya says:

    I just came back from Italy. Oh, it is so dirtyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I am from Minnesota. Actually, I am Russian, have NEVER seen such dirty streets, houses, etc. before. Sorry…. Have a nice trip:-)

  • Debbie says:

    Oh my people!
    Dirty….that thought never crossed my mind or any of my travel companions when we were in Rome and Florence. And Rome dirtier than Florence…hmmmm…I don’t think so.
    What MAY look dirty is the old…and that is just aged plasters…but not dirty. That’s the magic of it all.

  • Cheyanna says:

    Created the greatest artclies, you have.

  • Louise says:

    I can confirm Rome is dirty!!!!!! Way too many smokers puffing smoke in your face. Too many beggers and the whiff of pee left me feeling sick! The latter mainly around the spanish steps and trevi fountain. Won’t be going there again.

  • Craig says:

    I’m literally in Florence right now and believe me it is totally dirty, I’ve never seen graffiti on every door and buildings, beggars, and the pee smell it’s just horrible. We came from Germany and it’s was just outstanding. We gave Rome next on out list and to be honest with you I’m quite scared.

  • Jake Smoth says:

    Romans themselves think Roma is dirty. When James Bond was being filmed there several Romans were quoted as saying that they were embarrassed by the graffiti, trash floating in the water and homeless people sleeping under the bridges. Some of the neighborhoods are nice and I love Roma but cities like Munich, Berlin, London, Miami and Sydney are much cleaner.

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