Rome carriage ban

This item appears on page 79 of the May 2009 issue.

The City Council of Rome voted March 4 to ban horse-drawn carriages on streets in the city center except on weekends. Monday to Friday, the city’s 44 botticelle (carriages) will be permitted to work in public parks such as the Borghese Gardens.

The city had attempted to regulate working conditions for the approximately 90 carriage horses, including mandating a 30-minute break after each trip and no work 1-5 p.m. during the hot months of June-September. These conditions were “routinely flouted,” according to a spokesman for the local animal-rights campaign. Also, two horses were killed in traffic accidents last year.

Now carriage horses will be implanted with microchips that can be scanned to ensure that rest periods and limits on working hours have been complied with. New sheltered stables also are planned.

City officials suggested carriage drivers offer rides in vintage cars during the week instead.