Remember to pack your walking shoes if you travel to the Eternal City.
The days of spending one’s first jet-lagged hours in Rome getting a feel for the Eternal City by sleepily riding around in a sightseeing bus are officially over.
Effective January 1, 2019, tour buses will no longer be allowed in Rome city center. Rome’s mayor and city council got the go-ahead to enforce the restrictions after Italy’s highest administrative court rejected an appeal by tour operators and bus driver unions.
Hired tour buses will no longer be able to ferry tourists to popular destinations such as Rome’s Colosseum, the Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Piazza Navona.
Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, said the move is “an important decision not only for the protection of our archaeological and historic heritage but also to combat air and noise pollution.”
The new plan divides the city into three zones, according to a Reuters report. In the “red zone,” where most of the popular tourist sites are, buses will not be allowed. There will be more parking for buses to drop off tourists in “green zone,” where they can walk or take public transportation to the Vatican. There will also be a “yellow zone” for long-term parking.
There will be exemptions to the new restrictions for school buses, buses transporting disabled passengers, and buses taking guests to large hotels. The decision to restrict tour buses was met with protests as drivers and managers of bus companies held demonstrations last month in several locations in Rome.
According to thelocal.it, many residents of Rome will welcome the new restrictions, as they are “fed up with sharing roads with coaches and pavements with tour groups.” In addition to the traffic, tour buses have been involved in several fatal accidents in the city center.
“The time for buses frolicking in the city is over,” said Mayor Raggi.