- Rome’s skeletal public Christmas tree has earned a disparaging nickname.
- Locals are reportedly calling the “lo Spelacchio” (“The Mangy One”).
- It reportedly cost the city around €48,000 (£42,400) and is now under investigation.
- The tree has drawn further criticism of the governing abilities of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which controls the city council.
Rome’s official 70-foot-tall pine Christmas tree is so disappointing it has earned a nickname from locals: “The Mangy One”.
The tree, which sits in the middle of Piazza Venezia in the Italian capital and is normally part of the city’s Christmas celebrations, appears to be dying or dead.
Even the giant silver baubles that hang on its branches don’t help its sad appearance.
According to The Telegraph, Romans have nicknamed the tree “lo Spelacchio,” which roughly translates to “the Mangy One.” Sympathetic Christmas cards are being written to the tree, and a Twitter account has been started in its honour.
When translated, one tweet reads: “Eight hundred baubles and 4,000 metres of lights – now I’ve got a back ache from all this bloody stuff.”
However, it’s not all a laughing matter. The Telegraph reported that the tree “has become an emblem of the chaotic governance” of the city.
The Five Star Movement, the anti-establishment party led by mayor Virginia Raggi, has faced a number of accusations from residents of “failing to tackle the city’s problems” since being elected last year.
The issues ranges from “uncollected rubbish to graffiti-sprayed trains and buses that alarmingly burst into flames – sometimes when passengers are on board.”
The company that transported the tree from the mountains of Trentino in northern Italy was reportedly paid around €48,000 (£42,389). The tree is now under official investigation and has been referred a court of Italian auditors.
Consumer organisation Codacons filed the complaint, which called the three “waste of public money.”
The document, filed this week, reads: “A lot of money was spent on a dead tree, meaning there is possible damage to the public purse.”
Meanwhile, here’s the Vatican’s stunning Christmas tree.
The Five Star Movement is hoping to win office at national elections, set to be held in the spring.
However, opponents are questioning the party’s ability to govern, and are using the Christmas tree as an example.
Elvira Savino, MP from centre-right party Forza Italia, said: “The Five Star Movement can’t even manage to get a Christmas tree right, imagine how they would govern the country,” while head of right-wing party Brothers of Italy Giorgia Meloni said: “€48,000 to kill a Christmas tree. Well done, Virginia.”
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