Sightseeing by Car in Rome, Italy

by Wade Rowland

The traffic in Rome at the turn of the millennium is no better and no worse that it was two thousand years ago‹that is to say, it is abominable. Traffic is what is eternal about Rome. The fact that everywhere you turn there is construction and restoration work underway in preparation for the Papal Jubilee next year does not help. Strangely, though, it is not difficult to drive in the city: you simply ignore all regulations, trust your instincts and go with the flow. Somehow it all works out.

You could see it as an admirable illustration of what the American philosopher William James called the will to believe. “Wherever a desired result is achieved by the cooperation of many independent persons,” James claimed, “its existence as a fact is a pure consequence of the [preexisting] faith in one another of those immediately concerned.”

Without that faith, not only is nothing achieved; nothing is attempted. In James’s famous example, a trainload of passengers, each individually brave enough, can be looted by a few highwaymen because the robbers can count on one another while each passenger fears that if he makes a move he’ll be shot before his fellow passengers come to his aid. If we had faith that the whole train would rise up in our support, we would all act, and train robbing would never even be attempted.

In this way, it occurred to me, through the exercise of faith, Rome’s drivers daily avert gridlock. In their optimism and determination they simply will the traffic to keep moving. They never say die; they take advantage of every millimeter of space to inch forward. They make creative suggestions to the drivers around them, sometimes verbally, more often using eloquent hand gestures.

Through and around it all the scooters and mopeds in their multitudes slip and slide like schools of minnows, beneath the notice of the law, the lubricant between the grinding cars and trucks and buses.

Rome Car Rental Tips
You will save both time and money if you prebook your rental car before you travel. The rates at home, in your own currency, are often considerably cheaper than renting a car once you get to Rome. The major car rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Enterprise, Alamo, Europcar, and National all offer car rentals in Rome. In fact, Avis has 15 car rental locations in or near Rome.

About The Author

The author of more than a dozen books, Wade Rowland is a long-time journalist who has worked for the Winnipeg Free Press, the Toronto Telegram, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and the CTV Television Network. Rowland holds a doctorate from the faculty of Communication and Culture at York University (Toronto) where he teaches the history, sociology and philosophy of communications technologies.