Rome isn't Manhattan, where the failure to pick up after your dog can get you yelled at, ostracized, and fined. No, in Rome dog owners let their dogs do what they want, then walk away, leaving the sidewalks a mess and the dirt around trees covered in dried feces. If that sounds unpleasant, it is.
So we were surprised one day on Piazza dei Re di Roma to see a man bending over, plastic bag covering his hand (and another in his back pocket) to clean up after his dog. Not "man bites dog," but perhaps as uncommon.
|Man sweeping sidewalk, via Olbia|
canines. But until this year--2014--we had not seen home/apartment owners sweeping the sidewalk in front of their buildings. We've seen it twice, now, both times on the street where we live--via Olbia. These efforts are not sufficient--two guys sweeping now and then on a block with maybe 20 buildings will not make the area look "clean," but it's a start.
AND THEN the real shocker: a major story in La Repubblica noted several volunteer ("fai da te" [do it yourself]) efforts to clean up and beautify Rome neighborhoods. In Monteverde, two women had taken matters into their own hands, cleaning sidewalks on via dei Quatro Venti and neighboring streets--while asking scooter owners not to drive on the sidewalks--and in the zone of Ardeatina had begun to plant flowers at the base of trees. On one of the trees they had posted a note: "Dear neighbors," it read, "come see that we've begun to clean and decorate your street." Something is happening in Rome. Man bites dog. Bill
|More evidence, again from via Olbia|
|Volunteers--area residents--clean the sidewalks of via dei Quattro Venti|