Taking a position that seems to minimize the importance of history may be counter-intuitive if you are the mayor of one of the world’s most historic cities, but that’s not stopping Roman Mayor Gianni Alemanno. Alemanno believes that the famed cobblestone streets of his fair city have posed too great a risk to the well-being of high-heeled women, and has therefore decided it is long past time to bring his roads into the ankle-safe world of the 21st century. His plan calls for replacing the streets with newer cobblestones, and in high-traffic areas replacing them with asphalt. Four major roads will see this change in the next year (Via del Corso, Via del Teatro Marcello, Via Petroselli, and Piazza Bocca della Verità).
I have to ask though, is this that big of a deal? Is the perceived historic value of a street worth sacrificing infrastructural improvement? Many an Internet comment section seem to think so, but those user sections are American, and though this news story just bubbled up in this country, the announcement in Italy was actually made in July to seemingly little fanfare. So though I would hope that the old cobblestones are repurposed in some way so that their history can be appreciated, maybe a little progress and a few less sprained ankles aren’t such bad things.