Rome: The Good, The Bad, The Heartbreaking.
Roma è schifoso. Seriously. Rome is not just dirty, it’s nasty. It’s filthy. Dumpsters overflow with garbage, stinking puddles of ooze spreading out from the base.I don’t know why my souvenirs of Rome didn’t include Cholera. Bags of garbage are left on street corners for city pick up that may or may not happen. Seagulls, dogs, and other scavengers* rip them open and scatter the contents. I’m not bitching about graffiti or pollution. Litter is everywhere. People drop wrappers, cigarette butts, cans, bottles, and half-eaten pizza on the sidewalk and walk away. Rome’s parks are weedy, trashy and unkempt, overgrown pastures for the homeless. Don’t take my word for it. Watch this April 2017 footage of poor neglected Piazza de Vittorio. If you want to cut to the to the rubbish chase, start at 2:43.
Locals tell me it’s an intractable situation created by city employee corruption and/or the Mafia. The whole system needs to be scrapped and redesigned. Good luck with that.
In April, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi, elected on a promise to solve the garbage crisis, announced a 12-point plan to clean up the eternal city.
My favorite unintentionally hilarious point is redefining garbage as “post-usage materials.” Poof! Garbage no longer exists, so there’s no longer a crisis.
One glimmer of hope – recycling is a fundamental Roman skill. Roman builders scavenged ‘spolia’ (reusable materials) throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the church re-purposed temples into churches and recycling is the centerpiece of Raggi’s plan.
I doubt a Keep Rome Beautiful PSA will do it, even if they made Michelangelo’s David cry.
However, in a world where smoking can successfully be banned from Italian restaurants, anything is possible. Maybe divine intervention is the way to go. Pray for a miracle.