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.


  1. Is you photo on Via del Corso?

    In NYC carriage horses have to be off duty as soon as the temperature reaches 93 degrees F.
    I wish we were so lucky.

  2. Yes, that is Piazza Colonna, isn't it? Via del Corso is so fascinting, and the horse carriage fits right in with all the contradictions. Thanks for the info on them. Bizarre.

  3. History of the "historical-archeology" to protect the art and provide you with an understanding of philosophy, on behalf of civilization

  4. Sono venuto dalla Grecia per dirti quanto io ami l'Italia, in particolare Roma e la Toscana.
    Io li amo!

  5. Roseann~
    I didn't know that... How civilized!

    Yes, you can actually see a piece of the "Colonna" in the background. My horizon is so slanted ;)

    Uhm... Ok.

    Grazie della tua visita e del tuo bellissimo commento! Io amo la Grecia!!

  6. We always love your 'slant', mia amica!

    By the way, can you explain botticelle versus Botticelli? Am I to understand that the great Renaissance painter was named after...things you see behind a horse?

  7. It's too bad the horses don't have a say in the matter!

  8. Jeff~
    You're so silly! Botticelle = small little casks, barrells ≠ Botticelli = Renaissance painter's name with no meaning.

    Fortunately many are standing up in their name to defend their rights. Poor horses, these are usually ex-race horses that have been injured. Sad destiny...

  9. E80! I am amazed they get any customers at all Italians or stranieri. :)

  10. Linda~
    It's a mystery to me. Being ripped off and paying that for a cheesy Gondola ride I get, but this? No.

  11. Did you know that these horses live in vile conditions and every year many are killed due to exhaustion and break their legs on the cobblestones? There is a reason there is a large group that is against this death traps.

  12. The so-called "botticelle" that is, the Roman horse-drawn carriages are not a tradition of transport for people, but represent a degeneration of what was their original meaning and purpose. In fact, the "Botticelli" owe their name to the barrels: the carriage pulled by animals in 1800’s was used solely for transporting goods, and barrels in this case. There was never a "tradition" of tourist transport, therefore, as misleadingly one wants to make the tourist believe.

    Nowadays there is no need to justify the use of animals for transport or freight, let alone people. Tourists can have, in Rome in 2009, many means of locomotion, extremely comfortable, fast, with accessories for every need, and far cheaper than the carriage. As well as transportation that does not cause suffering to horses.

    Horses are obviously subject to a state of continuous suffering, being forced against their will to haul extremely heavy loads every day (more than one ton, the empty carriage weighs 800 kg ...). The working conditions are inhumane and the animal is brought along fast roads (like the Tiber) where the proximity of cars, speed and the roar of traffic so terrific, with the serious consequence of accidents, often fatal, while the horses are often forced to travel on uphill on cobblestone pavement which is slippery and uneven. These cobblestones, known as Sam Pietrini creates further discomfort when a horse is forced to stand on them without movement, often for many hours. The conditions worsen in summer when the hot sun makes the effort even more unbearable. And yet, the drivers pay no attention to laws, nor are laws enforced.

    In times past, the horses traveled on isolated and relatively quiet roads in Rome. Today, the crazy traffic, chaos, smog, the sounds of horns, the speed of vehicles and scooters whizzing close to the carriages, etc. .. make this means of transport absolutely unfit to the conditions of congestion in the city. The carriage is so configured a practice that is deeply anachronistic and certainly cruel to horses, and is thus there is no longer any reason for them to exist today.

    The drivers are only interested in making the most profit from this activity and therefore do not care the in the least about the well-being of the animal. The horse is forced to work in unbearable conditions some prohibited under the current regulations (Article 46 of the Rules of the City of Rome for the Protection of Animals)but are frequently observed that the maximum number of passengers is never observed, that the ban of working horses from 1pm to 4pm in the summer season is regularly violated, as well as to not go uphill, not to go at a trot, not to work more than 6 hours per day, etc. .. The carriage drivers also are not subject, like other workers (traders, taxi drivers, etc ...) to any official price list, being able to make money at will and come to ask even $ 300 per trip, all while not paying taxes to the state as there are no price regulations or receipts.

    Two fatalities occurred at close range, are clear indicators of a condition that is not very sustainable, and cannot last, if not continue to jeopardize the safety of people and horses. The risk factor for accidents is too high and stems from the incompatibility between the nature of these fearful animals, and the state of congestion of the streets of Rome.
    Please support our mission: Ban of Horse Drawn Carriages in Rome
    Sign our petition
    For more information on the Carriage industry in general:


    And some depressing photos of this disgusting industry:

  13. Rome looks to be a beautiful place to visit. But once I saw that they have carriage rides like here in the U.S. I think twice about visiting.

    I do not like the idea that any country would use these horses, where their lives are nothing but pain and suffering.

    We need to learn how to make money other ways and leave these horses in the pastures where they belong!

  14. Poor horses-what a terrible life :-(

  15. Thank you all for your engaging comments, and the links provided. We all agree that this is a horrible life for the animals.

    Elizabeth, Rome is a unique city; of course full of controversy, pollution, traffic, and yes, carriages. But also a place like no other for history, culture, art, language, literature, philosophy, beauty and joy of life. You should also take these factors in mind before deciding!

  16. The situation of the horses in Rome is one of the worst. I've witnessed it myself several times. Horses unable to stand straight from exhaustion, drooling, wounded...Such cruelty takes place in the streets day after day, how can people just stand and watch?

  17. I can't believe animal cruelty like this is allowed. I would never be able to visit any city that allowed this. I am sure God would be appalled at the treatment of his beautiful kind creation, the horse.


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