Roman Question Of The Day: What Does This Street Sign Warn Could Happen To You?

IMG_0946We are in our second day in Rome and having a ball. After a morning of church and crypt visits, we are about to join an arranged tour of the Vatican. However, one unnerving sign outside of the hotel stood out.

It appears that you can just be sucked into the Roman streets. That explains the catacombs we visited this morning full of stacked human bones. Alternatively, as the home of the Vatican, it could be a warning about your eternal soul and the pull of the demonio to the repose of the damned. I am not sure whether to grab a rope line or a prayer book before crossing.

54 thoughts on “Roman Question Of The Day: What Does This Street Sign Warn Could Happen To You?”

  1. Submit this to Reddit /whatisthisthing

    Those people know everything. It is really amazing what they can ferret out.

  2. Warning – Area Floods After Rains?

    No Americans? Because Americans will see the sign and stay away, thinking the pavement is quicksand?

    I’ve GOT to find out what this sign means! I hope the hotel can tell you.

  3. @Mr. Schulte, I appreciate your research on the matter. However, my purpose was not to provide historically accurate information but merely to point out that this sign is merely an example of clever well designed vandalism. Of course we all know that the Emperor Vespasian was defeated by the Vandals at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights in 1974.

    1. seamus – I have been bothered by this sign all morning, it seems to defy logic for signage. I am not sure it is vandalism. I think it is something the EU thought up during an week-long retreat on street signs to confuse Americans.

  4. I just had to look this one up. It seems there is a French artist named Clet Abraham who decided to change some of the normal traffic signs in Italy in to more artistic ones. So it appears you have a “Do Not Enter” sign with a bit of street art. Very clever…

    1. I looked up a lot of Italian signs and cannot find an exact match. However, the shape with the white rectangle is a prohibition sigh. So maybe they are prohibiting swimming which was my first guess or playing in the fountain.

  5. The Romans invented graffiti. “Graffiti” is actually a Swahili word meaning, “Italian Street Art”.

    1. seamus – the Romans invented the words graffiti (plural) and graffito (singular). They did not invent graffiti. There are examples of graffiti on Egyptian monuments and statues that predate the Romans.

  6. I’m thinking of the Wicked Witch of the West, “I’m meeelting!”

  7. As the sign is a variant of, in English-like words, “DO NOT ENTER,” and as it seems as though to depict a person surrounded by water waves, I do not find that the sign warns anyone about anything that might happen to someone.

    To me, and I always am making some sort of mistake, so I may be mistaken about being mistaken about the meaning of the sign, the sign signifies,”DO NOT ENTER THE WATER.”

    Of course, my always being in the process of making some kind of mistake, I suppose sign could signify, “DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF ENTERING THE WATER.”

    It is simply grand, my having qualified for the label, “Autism. High Functioning,” given to me by my primary care physician, to know that I make mistakes.

    But then, if I do not make mistakes, I find that I can never learn anything. Is it a mistake to be alive and making mistakes merely because life itself is a mistake?

  8. Then again there is a significant amount of flooding in Italy. Maybe it is indicating a way to get out of the flooded street.

  9. Jonathan – was there a fountain near by? Could it mean don’t swim in the fountain?

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