This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

'Baldy toilet brush': Locals aren't happy with Rome's wilted Christmas tree

The tree cost the city almost €50,000.

Rome's official Christmas tree stands in Piazza Venezia Square.
Rome's official Christmas tree stands in Piazza Venezia Square.
Image: Alessandra Tarantino via PA Images

THE CHRISTMAS TREE in Rome’s main square of Piazza Venezia has become such a laughing stock that it led the city’s mayor to launch an investigation into what prompted its premature demise.

“Rome’s tree is dry, dead on arrival. It’s a metaphor for the state of the capital,” one local wrote on Twitter, while another wondered: “What time does the funeral start?”

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, a preliminary enquiry found that the tree was not properly covered during transport from the Dolomites in northern Italy, where it had been grown.

A wide range of Romans – including environmentalists and professional gardeners – have opined that a tree of a more robust variety also would have survived for longer before starting to shed.

The tree – nicknamed Spelacchio which roughly translates as ‘baldy’ or ‘mangy’ – is a Norway spruce, while the European silver fir would have been a much safer bet for a tree, these self-professed Christmas tree experts said.

Italy: The Christmas tree of Rome Renamed 'Spelacchio' Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Many have compared “the fir tree agony” – which has cost the city some €48,000 – to the governing Five Star Movement, which won the mayorship in 2016 but has struggled with a transport and rubbish crisis.

“As if the mess they have created over the past year and a half was not enough, we must put up with this misery,” tweeted another Roman.

Italy Christmas Tree Needling Source: Alessandra Tarantino

Il Messaggero declared it a national embarrassment, saying that “in Russia, they’ve dubbed our dying tree a ‘toilet brush’.”

Read: Donegal nightclub to open on Christmas night despite objections from gardaí and locals

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:


Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel