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Why horse-drawn carriages will soon disappear from Rome's streets

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Why horse-drawn carriages will soon disappear from Rome's streets
A horse-drawn carriage navigates Rome's busy streets. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
09:58 CEST+02:00
They've long been a common sight on the streets of central Rome. But soon, horse-drawn carriages are set to disappear from the roads as the city brings in new legislation.

The famed tourist carriages, known as “botticelle”, are to be restricted to parks only in a measure the city council said was aimed at stopping the horses from suffering on the hot cobbles.

“Among the key aims of the measure is to avoid all suffering to the horses, taking the botticelle activities to more suitable locations like parks and historic villas," stated Daniele Diaco, head of Rome's environmental committee.

And the carriages could soon disappear altogether, as the city will no longer issue new botticelle licenses.

Instead it's offering drivers the option of applying for taxi licenses, Diaco said.

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The new law is seen as a victory for the capital's Five Star Movement-led council, which has been pushing for its approval since last year.

The legislation is seen as one step away from banning the botticelle outright, as promised by Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi in her election campaign almost four years ago.

Animal rights groups have long protested that the horses are stressed and suffer in the summer heat, while motorists rail against the carriages obstructing Rome's heavy traffic.

However, some carriage drivers claimed authorities simply dislike the carriages and were using concern about the horses' wellbeing as a cover to get rid of the carriages.

“It's a regulation against the coaches, not for the animals,” driver representative Angelo Sed told reporters in 2018.

The horse-drawn coaches are popular with tourists, who pay an average of €75 per person per hour to be transported around the eternal city.

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