I just spent some time in Rome and noticed some really interesting things from an urban transit perspective. I have a few pics that I snapped, but I won't post them now. I'm on dial-up at the moment...
Transit: Rome has subways, buses, trams, and light rail. Mopeds, scooters, and vespas are very common. The distances are walkable, but I can't say it is very pedestrian friendly: there are 2 million cars driving insanely around the city without regard to speed limits, lanes, signs, or crosswalks. Sidewalks are in many areas are non-existent, so walking happens in the lanes of traffic. Parking is a nightmare, so the sidewalk is often clogged with cars and motorcycles parked there. The public transit system brings you efficiently to most places, although it has its problems. There are regular strikes, it is overcrowded, and full of pick-pockets in many areas. Ticketing is clever: you buy a ticket that is good for 75 minutes, a week, or a month after you validate it by punching it with the time you first use it. You only need to have a validated ticket with you on your person: you do not need to display it, check it, or anything else! It makes hopping on the bus a lot easier than I'm used to. The same ticket is also good on all forms of transit in the city.
Gas Stations: Someone once asked a question about pedestrian friendly gas stations. In central Rome, there are a lot of gas stations that are nothing more than a gas pump plunked down on the sidewalk. Cars pull to the side of the road, fill up, and drive away. Just like a newstand.
Mixed Use Housing: In central Rome, virtually everything is mixed use. Stores on the street, houses and offices above. Most of the homes are accessed by gated private courtyards/gardens off the street.
Street Environment: Most of the apartments are accessed from the private gardens as I mentioned, so people don't really take ownership with the street. Stores face the street, but they are all closed two hours for lunch and after 6 or 7. When they close, they put down metal doors making a completely faceless wall. It's nice and vibrant during the day, but looks distrubingly desolate and unwelcoming once you hit dinner time.
Sprawl: The cities in Italy are sprawling into the country side. Rome is losing population.