La Notte Bianca

Rome Travel Blog

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Mobs of people roam the streets of Rome on La Notte Bianca. This shot is taken from half-way up the Spanish Steps.
The night before we left for our trip there was a giant celebration going on in Rome called "La Notte Bianca", or, "The White Night". Modeled after a similar holiday in Paris, it is a night where basically the entire city stays out and celebrates. There were tons of entertainment and cultural events going on, including cooking demos by famous chefs along the streets, music events hosted by MTV near Termini Station, and a entertaining but also somewhat disturbing performance by Cirque du Soleil on the Spanish steps.

In theory the the event is a great idea, but in practice there were simply too many people and not enough streets to contain them. Foolishly, my friends and I decided to take the Metro.
Cirque du Soleil performs on the Spanish Steps.
Even on normal days the Metro in Rome is packed and overcrowded. When the subway train showed up at the stop, the doors opened to reveal compartments containing 4 Italians per square foot. Figuring that every train would be just as packed, we decided to just cram our way into this one, and entering the train was like diving horizontally into a crowded mosh-pit.

We got off at a stop near the Spanish Steps and the streets were just as packed as the subway. They were so crowded you literally couldn't take a step forward until some person at the far end of the seething mass took a step and that step somehow reverberated through 4000 people and opened up a small space in front of you to step in. Later I learned that there were over 2 million people out, so it's no wonder it seemed impossible to get anywhere.
Another view of the mob.

Once we finally made it to the Spanish Steps we got to watch Cirque du Soleil give a short but entertaining performance. There were freakish clowns that pranced around to demented music, a woman who did crazy moves with hula hoops, and an opera-type singer who was almost booed everytime she stepped onto the stage because the tired crowd wanted to see something more exciting than that.

I could go on in more detail about the rest of the night, but instead I'll just summarize by saying we inched our way through the crowd from place to place, trying to find something to do, but most often failing. Once we got a bit further way from the Spanish Steps, the crowd thinned out a bit, and it became more enjoyable to walk around. Eventually I got tired and stumbled back to my apartment around 3 or 4AM to catch a few hours of sleep before leaving on the train for Venice the next morning.

the_bloodsucker says:
that was one party-filled night! im sure you had a blast! =)
Posted on: Nov 27, 2007
angie says:
"4 Italians per square foot." Hee hee. I like your use of Italians as a unit of measurement.
Posted on: Nov 28, 2005
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Mobs of people roam the streets of…
Mobs of people roam the streets o…
Cirque du Soleil performs on the S…
Cirque du Soleil performs on the …
Another view of the mob.
Another view of the mob.
The packed subways on the night of…
The packed subways on the night o…
In addition to being quite flexibl…
In addition to being quite flexib…
photo by: vulindlela