Is Rome a dirty city?

Have you heard rumors about Rome being a dirty city? Are you just curious before arrival in order to set your expectations right? So, what is the truth? Is Rome a dirty city giving you streets packed with litter, or will this be a city to remember, not only because of its history and amazing buildings but also because of its clean streets?

If you do a quick search on Google or in Bing (or use Ecosia to plant some trees while surfing) to find out whether or not Rome is a dirty city, you will find all sorts of answers. But, to be honest, the majority of search results will conclude with the fact that Rome is a dirty city. How come? It is pure logic. How many people search the Internet for information about whether or not Rome is a clean city? Not many! So, when they search for information related to whether it is a dirty city or not, they will find search results from articles and forum posts in which they focus on the fact that Rome is a dirty city. So, there is a negative curve, showing negative results, based on a negative search inquiry. But, if so many people have written and complained about graffiti everywhere, dog poop on the street, and litter here and there… hasn’t there got to be some truth to it?

Is Rome really a dirty city?
A picture of Rome – including waste and graffiti

What is the truth about Rome?

When you speak with people who have been to Rome, you will often hear two widely different opinions. One will say that it was beautiful from start till end, while the other person found it to be amazing, just awful because of the waste, dog-poop, and cigarette waste. It is hard to find the truth in this, but there are some realities you better be aware of before your arrival in Rome.

There is a lot of graffiti in Rome

Many people will leave Rome without really thinking about this. But, if you first open your eyes looking for graffiti, you will for sure find it. You can see it on the metro stations and on the metro wagons, on buildings, on doors, and mostly everywhere. Of course, the old historical buildings are protected from this, but the buildings that nobody really cares about, they are often suffering.

A graffiti metro in Rome
Source: Shutterstock

What is the conclusion then? If you look for it, you will for sure find it. And if you let it disturb you, it can mostly take the joy away from your day. There is little that you can do about this, so the best thing you do is simply to forget about it. Truth be told, most tourists don’t even notice the graffiti… they are to busy taking pictures and having a good time. It isn’t your fault if you notice details and graffiti, but you are better off if you forget about it.

The buildings of Rome

The beautiful buildings of Rome remain beautiful and intact. They are not disturbed by graffiti, but they can suffer from pollution coming from a big number of cars. The city has a population of around 2,8 million people, and there are hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the city every single day. Just considering the fact that all of these are in need of traveling from the airport to their hotel (and back), from the train station to their hotel, or the fact that they all arrive with a car in some way makes up a big amount of traffic.

However, there is constant work taking place to keep the buildings nice. So, you will once again see a combination of polluted (black) buildings with newly renovated buildings shining in their former glory.

Litter on the streets (dog-poop, cigarettes)

Maybe it doesn’t disturb you much if there is graffiti on a wall. But, if you keep getting dog-poop under your shoe, that can be very annoying. If you don’t notice, you might think Rome smells bad, only to discover later that your shoe was to blame.

As you walk the main streets of Rome, the tourist area, you do not normally bump into lots of dog-poop. But, if you start walking in areas mostly used by the local population and those walking their dogs along the river, you might have to look more downwards than upwards.

The same can be said when it comes to litter. During larger events, a lot of litter is thrown to the streets of Rome, but the city center is quite quickly cleaned up, making it look nice for the locals and for the tourists visiting the city. You might return home being incredibly happy about the look of the city, but if you are unlucky, you might visit Rome on a day when the garbage cans are full, and the litter is floating on the street next to the garbage cans.

Rome is beautiful, but is it dirty?

So, is Rome a dirty city or not?

Many people say that women see a black spot on a white wall, while the men see a white wall with a black spot on it (if they see the spot at all). Well, when it comes to Rome, the best is to be like a man and see the beauties, and not always those dirty details. If you are lucky, they might not even be there, but they do exist, and many people do notice them.

Rome is a fairly dirty city, but at the same time, it isn’t worse than other cities you will visit around in Europe. We have recently written a similar article about Prague, so if you want to know more about whether or not Prague is a dirty city, click the link!

Have you been to Rome yourself? Did you find Rome to be a dirty city or a clean city? We would love to hear your thoughts!