Dangerous Cocktail - snow, freezing pigeons, excited crowds don't mix
Still cold here in Rome, but the snow will fade soon into the background of everyone's memory. So just a follow up from the lovely walks around the centro the past 2 weekends. For a refresher, check out these images from February 3 and February 10th (in collaboration with Erica Firpo). Rome regularly dips down to low temperatures, even freezing, each winter period, but it's the snow that's novel- picturesque and pleasant to see, however fleeting. I was glad I could go around on my bike to take it all in last weekend.
In antiquity, gladiators were tough and fought all year round but they weren't the Green Bay Packers that regularly appeared on the frozen tundra before the crowds. Freak snowstorms were noted when they occurred in ancient Rome, as were the more than occasional flood, earthquake, and fire-- all challenges to the sustainability of the city.
Walking and biking around, I was struck by 2 things regarding conservation in Rome, beyond the observations made in the press about the prolonged closure of sites and Nth crumbled piece falling from the Colosseum due to the snow.
1. The pigeons roosting in the holes of the the firewall of the Forum of Augustus that faces the Forum Transitorium. I couldn't believe it. Talk about a columbarium! Talk about a 3-alarm heritage at risk issue, to say nothing about the condition of the tuff firewall itself.
Close up details of pigeons roosting within the wall! Resolvable by inserting anti-pigeon spikes.
2. People ignoring the barriers all around the Domitianic Meta Sudans (famously excavated by Prof. Panella of La Sapienza), and parts of the pavilion of Nero around the former Neronian Stagnum. I know that everyone was excited, but no reason to ignore the barriers, people.
Solutions? I hope to be able to address the pigeon phenomenon at the Forum of Augustus firewall and insignificant fencing around the Meta Sudans with my MiBAC colleagues. Hoping to make low cost solutions (e.g., insertion of small anti-pigeon spikes in the holes) and more noticeable additions to the low fencing presently around the Meta Sudans area) in the near future. Roma Eterna (if we can just take care of it).