The city councils announcement that the historic cobblestones or sampietrini on Via Nazionale are to go has sparked off protests from residents and various associations in the area, who want to save the historic air of the 19th-century road, while others prefer a more practical and modern street to cope with todays traffic.

The latter claim that the cobbles are dangerous, especially in winter when they become slippery and that the uneven road surface and its present dilapidated state cause flooding when it rains.

Many shops keepers are also concerned about the adverse effects the road works will have on trade.

The first cobblestones appeared in the capital in the 16th century to facilitate the driving of horse-drawn carriages. They were named sampietrini because the first cobblestones were placed along St. Peters Square.