Street-vendors of Rome
Rome is no doubt one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe. Roman Empire left a legacy worth thousands of years of tremendous reputation and income for Italians.
People all over the world come in to wonder in front of countless of architectural buildings and different forms of art inherited from the Roman era and no less famous Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Rome, like any other big city, is a place where tourism has it’s ugly, nasty side to it. Big crowds, long queues at important points of interest, strategically placed restaurants with poor service at inflated prices and ubiquitous street-traders.
I wander the streets a lot with my camera, every corner in Rome has something beautiful to capture but above that, every corner has literally one stall or a piece of fabric laid on the pavement with fake designer bags or at best African wooden statuettes and folding trays. These individuals come from different backgrounds; all arriving here hoping to escape the reality of their countries and send money back home to struggling families.
Most of them are unlicensed, having created very smart strategies to elude Guardia di Finanzia (the authorities responsible for keeping unlicensed vendors off the streets) and they seem to be pretty good at it because authorities rarely catch up with them. I think, for reasons I wouldn't want to know, the police doesn't want to do more, they chase and scream at them but that is about all I have seen happening. Episodes like these take place around Vatican, Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, you name it, wherever the tourists lurk. A never ending cat and mouse game!
You know you’re visiting Rome when you notice blue lights piercing through the air.
Guys located in every piazza at night trying to sell luminescent devices that they would slingshot up into the air which would then float back to ground. Their target in the market must be children.
Street-vendors are universally accepted in some places more than others, I know, but I have been bothered many times by the extent of the phenomenon in Rome. The guys are trying to make a living but so are the ones that managed to get proper paid jobs in many areas of the work market. Some of them are even funny and many times a lot better at customer service than the Italians themselves, but very often they are simply harassing tourists, following people around and using different tricks (they trick you into offering roses for free apparently and then asking money for it).
I expected authorities in a country like Italy to deal with these kinds of issues with efficiency rather than ignorance but I guess this is a small one on their To-Do List considering the bitter state the country is at this very moment.
In the meantime I go out and observe.
Pictures taken over a period of a few months in Rome with Olympus Pen EP-M2 with Zuiko 14-42mm 1:3.5 and Nikon D300s with Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.4