Rome to swap sampietrini for asphalt on several major streets.
Rome's traditional cobblestones or sampietrini are to disappear from 68 streets in the centre, including several thoroughfares with heavy traffic, as part of a programme of major infrastructure works this year.
The roadworks will see cobblestones replaced with more traffic-friendly asphalt, while the sampietrini removed will be laid in 113 pedestrian streets such as Via dei Condotti as well as the central Via del Corso.
The city has begun to remove sampietrini from Via IV Novembre, which links Via Nazionale to Piazza Venezia, with works currently underway with the city in lockdown due to the Coronavirus.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi said that in the case of Via IV Novembre the sampietrini in the central part of the road will be replaced by asphalt, a "surface more suitable for the transit of scooters, bicycles and public transport", with the cobblestones left at the sides of the roadway as "historical evidence."
Roadworks are also set to be carried out in Piazza Venezia, where the sampietrini will be retained, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
This will reportedly be followed by the removal of cobblestones from Viale Aventino while later in the year Via Nazionale is also expected to lose its sampietrini.
The city is practically deserted in terms of traffic which in theory will favour the programme of roadworks however it is unclear whether the Coronavirus will affect the time-line of the scheduled works.
Roman drivers have a love-hate relationship with the basalt cobblestones which, although characteristic of the city, are dangerous for motorini - particularly in the rain - as well as being bumpy to drive over in cars and buses.
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Rome streets bid farewell to cobblestones
Via Quattro Novembre, 00187 Roma RM, Italy