Rome backtracks on phasing out Roman numerals

City council to change database but not street signs.

Rome's city council has backtracked after voting to phase out Roman numerals from the city's street signs and documents.

The plan, which caused controversy among Rome residents and politicians, followed a recommendation from national statistics agency Istat which said that Italy's numerical system should be updated and standardised.

The change would have meant that streets such as Via XX Settembre, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Pio V, for example, would receive new plaques reading “Via Venti Settembre”, “Corso Vittorio Emanuele Secondo” and “Via Pio Quinto”.

The city backtracked on its plans, at least partially, after Italy's culture minister Dario Franceshini said he hoped Rome would reconsider the move because: "Roman numerals are a part of our identity.”

The measure will not now be introduced on new street plaques but the city's database will adopt the system "for technical reasons."