Sunday, August 21, 2011
Botticelle is Roman for 4-wheeled horse-drawn carriages, and the name derives from the 'botti' (wine barrels) that were transported with such means in ancient times.
Today these quintessential Rome icons are at the center of controversy. Tourists and photographers love them; while wallets and animal rights' activists don't.
Prices are not fixed. They can be influenced by number of passengers and their nationality, chosen itinerary, weather conditions and–mostly–the driver's mood. Starting price for an average 20 minute ride is never below €80, that is if you're Italian... If you're a foreigner, be prepared to weep.
A recent law regulates Eternal City hansoms must display a licence plate, forbids access to steeply inclined roads, enforcing rigid 8 hour-long shifts, in order to make life easier on the pulling quadrupeds. There's even talk of implementing a lightweight electric cab.
Botticelle will furthermore have limited entry in ZTL traffic controlled areas of the city (centro storico, Trastevere, Testaccio and Villa Borghese), and will be allowed only on a selected number of travel-charm areas, like Via Veneto, Piazza della Repubblica and Via dei Fori Imperiali. They will no longer be able to transit on hilly Via Barberini, Via Francesco Crispi, Via Quattro Fontane, Via della Dataria, Salita Del Grillo, Via Panisperna and Via San Sebastianello.