Of all the districts of Rome, the centre gives the best idea of the history of this city. It stretches from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza Venezia and from the the east bank of the Tiber up to Piazza di Spagna. From the Imperial Forums to the innumerable churches, from the Renaissance buildings to the narrow streets, from the squares to the monuments, the centre has all the best of what Rome has to offer. But it is precisely these characteristics that make moving around so difficult. The installation of electronic check-points to allow access only to cars belonging to residents in the centre has slightly improved the situation in recent years, but during the evening and weekends when the controls are lifted the traffic is overwhelming. Parking reserved for residents is limited, street parking is scarce and a space in a private garage costs a small fortune, if you can find it. It is therefore unwise to move around the centre by car. In the last couple of years the electric bus service has been improved and it is one of the best ways of moving around the centre's narrow streets. The area has only four subways stops. To restore some of the ancient dignity to the centre there are now various pedestrian precincts. The centre is an ideal area for shopping. A lack of parks is something of a problem. Night life is lively and enjoyable, although the noise and the crowds are not popular with residents. There used to be a profusion of street markets but these are gradually being replaced by supermarkets, which are also threatening the smalll, family-run corner grocers and greengrocers.
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Historic centre, Rome
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