Posted on | August 14, 2008 | 1 Comment
I came across Disneyland in Rome (crazy idea) today on MSNBC. At first I thought it was a joke: I mean, seriously, who would think that Rome needs a theme park ?? There’s so much to see and do in the city already. But, it seems like this is something which is actually being considered.
Rome, with over 6 million tourist arrivals annually, places 8th in Euromonitor’s Top 150 City Destinations 2007 rankings. The cities ahead of Rome in the tourist stakes include London (top spot, 15 million tourists), Paris, Bangkok and Dubai. All the same, will a theme park make that much of a difference ?
I’m a target customer for this planned ‘family-friendly attraction’ which aims to ‘show tourists what life was like in the Rome of 2,000 years ago’. I just spent some time (not enough) in Rome this past June. With husband and kids in tow (CAM and BigB, 12 and 8). We were hard-core tourists for four straight days. Your eyes would spin if I listed all the (existing) attractions we visited. Those were tiring days. We had a fabulous time. Now, if you ask them, my children consistently rank Rome as their favorite place in Italy. Would I have squeezed in a Roma-Disney if it were there? No. Not now. Not ever.
Still thinking about Rome and theme parks, this evening, I asked my kids what was their favorite thing about Rome. BigB said (and I am quoting here): “The Trevi Fountain. I just think that all the different places where the water comes out symbolizes many becoming one like everything coming together”. Wow. I’m impressed. CAM is a yard sale junkie. He chose the Porta Portese market as his top pick to visit before we got to Rome and it was top of his list today. (Although I can tell you he was utterly intrigued by the Colosseum – especially the lewd 2,000-year-old graffiti).
My vote for the Lazio area council: don’t bother with the theme park, you’ve got enough going for you already. Spend the money on keeping your city clean. Expand the metro. Police the buses to keep the pickpockets under control. Rome is a unique place, don’t spoil it.