Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Keeping Rome Clean: Part 2

Rome has a few street-sweeping machines, the kind with rotating brushes that tidy up near the curbs. But because automobiles normally take up both sides of the streets, most of the sweeping is done by hand, with long-handled, curved brooms of the sort favored by the Wicked Witch of the East, tools descended from the Dark Ages. We've never tried one--it doesn't seem as if they can be bought in stores--so we can only assume that the odd-looking things are functional for the outdoor work they do, that the curve of the broom makes it possible to get around and under the city's cars and trucks, many of which haven't been moved for months, as the owners fret about never finding another parking place.

In recent years, the storied straw version of the street broom has been replaced with green plastic. The march of progress will doubtless trouble the traditionalists, but those with an artistic bent may have a different view. We like the dash of color in the line-up above, where brooms in a row await their sweepers. Bill

1 comment:

Mick P said...

Nice pic, and I agree about the dash of colour. In British English, this type of broom is called a besom. I think the natural, twiggy ones (maybe made from hazel?) start off straight and become curved with use. The new plastic ones might well be pre-curved. Ama AMA!