Around 10million self-taking tourists cram into Rome’s streets and around its ancient sites each year.
But it wasn’t always so.
These fascinating vintage pictures taken in 1956 show a far less hectic Eternal City.
The black-and-white snaps were captured by photographer Allan Hailstone, from Coventry, on a trip to Rome as a schoolboy in August 1956 with his father and a friend. They had been inspired to go after seeing the 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain.
His mesmerising snaps show some of Rome’s most famous landmarks such as the grand Spanish Steps, the ancient Colosseum, the mighty Castel Sant’Angelo and the historic Vatican Museum. But without the hordes.
Mr Hailstone, who has posted many of his vintage images on Flickr, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Before the advent of cheap airfares and mass tourism, it was easy in 1956 to see all of the sights in Rome without any waiting time. Things were much more leisurely than now when you will be among crowds of visitors.’ Scroll down to see his stunning pictures…
Photographer Allan Hailstone took a stunning snap, left, of the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument on a trip to Rome in August 1956. It honours Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first king of a unified Italy. It is located on the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It is pictured on the right in the present day
The Spanish Steps have very few tourists on them, left, in a picture taken by Mr Hailstone on August 3, 1956. The steps connect the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza della Trinità dei Monti. Pictured right are the steps flooded with tourists in the present day
Mr Hailstone captured this scene, left, on Via della Conciliazione looking towards St Peter’s Basilica. Via della Conciliazione connects St Peter’s Square to the Castel Sant’Angelo. It is pictured right heaving with tourists in April 2019
The scene around the Trevi Fountain in August 1956. It features in the 1954 film Three Coins in the Fountain, which inspired Mr Hailstone to visit Rome
A horse-drawn hearse makes its way past Rome’s Colosseum – one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions
Mr Hailstone, who has posted many of his vintage images on Flickr, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Before the advent of cheap airfares and mass tourism, it was easy in 1956 to see all of the sights in Rome without any waiting time’
This shot was snapped on Via del Tulliano with the Church of Saint Joseph of the Carpenters on the right and the Roman Forum, including the Septimius Severus Arch, in the distance
This fascinating snap was taken on August 2, 1956, next to the Castel Sant’Angelo, pictured on the right. The building was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for his family. Pictured in the distance is St Peter’s Basilica
Castel Sant’Angelo, pictured, has been used as a military building as well as a refuge for Pope Clement VII during sieges in Rome in 1527. It is now a museum that houses a collection of paintings, sculptures, military memorabilia and medieval firearms
Pictured is the Via della Conciliazione, which translates into English as Road of the Conciliation
Mr Hailstone said: ‘Things were much more leisurely in Rome then than now when you will be among crowds of visitors.’ Pictured is Corso Vittorio Emanuele on August 2, 1956
This image was captured close to Rome Termini, the city’s main railway station. After Mr Hailstone posted this image to Flickr, one user remarked that the car in the shot resembles a Fiat 500C Belvedere
A view of Piazza del Popolo, one of the most popular squares in Rome. In the centre of the square is the Flaminio Obelisk, which originally stood in Heliopolis, in Egypt, to honour Pharaoh Ramses II before being erected in Rome in 1589. It is 75 feet high
Mr Hailstone took this image close to the Trevi Fountain. The car in the centre of the shot is a Fiat 1100, according to one Flickr user
People cross the street and wait for public transport close to Corso d’Italia – one of the main roads that runs through Rome
This nighttime shot shows Via Veneto, which is often considered to be one of Rome’s most elegant and expensive streets. It was snapped on August 3, 1956
The pavement cafes, bars and restaurants on Via Veneto. Commenting on this shot on Flickr, one user said: ‘Looks almost like a still from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita’
This dizzying image, left, was taken by Mr Hailstone in the Vatican Museum. It shows the building’s two famous intertwined staircases. Pictured right is the same set of staircases, which look exactly the same today as they did in 1956
Mr Hailstone snapped this scene inside the Vatican Museum on August 4, 1956. The Museum displays an immense collection of art amassed by Popes throughout the centuries
This snap captures the scene on Piazzale Flaminio close to Piazza del Popolo. Piazzale Flaminio is a square just outside the Aurelian Walls
This vintage image shows Piazza del Risorgimento. After Mr Hailstone posted this image to Flickr, one user remarked: ‘How beautiful!’
Passengers are forced to stand on a packed bus travelling through Rome on August 3, 1956. To reach Rome, Mr Hailstone sailed across the English Channel and took two trains, one through France and Switzerland to Milan and another to Rome via Florence
Three men sit in a horse-drawn carriage as they make their way along Via Appia. The road is one of the oldest in Rome and formerly connected the city with the port town of Brindisi
Mr Hailstone shot this bizarre image of a woman carrying a suitcase on her head near Rome Termini. One Flickr user remarked that it ‘must have been brand new’
The now-defunct TWA (Trans World Airlines) advertises flights between Cinecitta film studios and Hollywood on a billboard on Via Appia