Rome is brought to a standstill so often, it stands to reason that those of us who have to go out to work for a living – and use public transport to boot – wake up and expect the worst every day in the working week. In such a corruptible and unpredictable country as the Italy we know and love is and forever shall be, we are still unpleasantly surprised upon being informed that Rome traffic is gridlocked from here to there in every direction because of striking public transport workers.
Even Italians are not entirely sure why the chances of their day grinding to a halt from about 08:00 are at an all time high. Typically no less than eight unions collude, so public transport strikes in Rome hit hard; most if not all suburban bus, metro and regional train services stop running with impunity. Notice is usually posted after the fact on http://www.atac.roma.it/ if at all.
So, how to avoid them if you’re a tourist with a busy day of Rome tours ahead? Ask your accommodation provider about ‘sciopero’ (that’s ‘strike’ in Italian to you and me) if you’ve heard on the grapevine that public transport in Rome is about to be suspended, or you can always ask us instead. It’s not unheard of, in fact it’s become a daily occurrence for tourists to use our office as an information point in times of need. Of course we’re happy to oblige, if we have time to help in between taking bookings for our Vatican tours and other Rome excursions.