Some cities are hard to find your way around so how hard is it finding your way around Rome? Don’t you hate it when you have the address to a place you have not visited before and cannot easily find the address? Worse when it is a foreign language and on a long street and there are no signs marked with street numbers. The locals know and assume everyone else does too. It’s next to “you know”, “by that shop that sells things”, or “on the corner”. Which corner? It’s a long street with loads of intersections. I want to shout out, “HELP, I CANNOT FIND IT!”
The person telling you where to go can see it so clearly. But you cannot!
Finding Your Way Around Rome is Easy
Why? Nearly every place we passed had a street number.
I first noticed these at the hotel. We walked past a number of large windows leading along the path to the entry door. 51, 53, 55, 57 – there, right at the door Via Giovanni Amendola 57, Hotel Uno. So easy. While the windows were not entry points now in a past life they would have been and the numbers still remained permanently built into the building wall.
Street numbers tell a multitude of stories. Some people cleaned their street numbers, proud of their abode perhaps. Others let them get covered in street grime either not noticing while living a busy city life or just not caring.
Usually a building had all the same style of number for each entry point. Numbers carved into the small stone tablets were most popular style. The font styles varied along with the depth of the carving. Older places would have been carved by hand and modern buildings had numbers most likely carved out by machine.
The next popular style was white enamel with blue numbers.
Occasionally a tenant or owner within a larger building would replace their numbers with a different type from their neighbours. Usually it was just the font style that indicated the difference. Brass numbers or ones made from other metals were not common. It was not just the city sections of Rome that had the carved stone or white & blue enamel versions. These were also common in the suburban areas we adventured into by traveling around on the local bus service.
If you need to find your way to a restaurant or meet a friend, once you get to the street finding the street number is simple.
Whether it is proclaimed law or just local practice the numbering of properties is something other cities and town should seriously act on. It’s makes locating an address in a town you do not know well a breeze.