We are just four days away from Christmas and the celebrations across the world are at their peak. However, things are not looking so good for Italy’s historic as well as majestic town of Rome. A 65-foot tall Christmas tree that cost $57,000 was set up in the city on December 8 but since then it has been steadily losing needles, literally! The thinning has become so bad that some locals are calling the tree ‘baldy’ while others have dubbed it the ‘world’s saddest Christmas tree’. While some Romans are laughing off the incident, others are furious, using it as a reason to fume at mayor Virginia Raggi, whom Sky News notes is not popular in the city these days.
Things have become so bad that city authorities have opened an investigation to discover why the tree has died so quickly. However, the Rome officials have confirmed that they have no plans to remove it before the holiday. It emerged that the company that transported the tree from the mountains of Trentino in northern Italy was chosen without having to go through a public tender and that it was paid around €48,000 – triple the price paid by Rome last year.
“A lot of money was spent on a dead tree, meaning there is possible damage to the public purse,” the complaint, filed this week, read.
WATCH: Romans decry ‘Mangy’, city’s threadbare Christmas tree, as symbol of decline. Read more: https://t.co/zixeId1D6n pic.twitter.com/6ArU3hJB9y
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 21, 2017
The Rome’s official Christmas tree stands in front of the Unknown monument in Piazza Venezia Square pic.twitter.com/u1thE3PDnp
— Prudencio Sosa Jr. (@Israelifreedom) December 20, 2017
Lastest success of Rome’s Five Star Movement major Virginia Raggi, once hailed as a ‘breath of fresh air’ on English-speaking media: the municipality’s main Christmas Tree in Piazza Venezia, known as Spelacchio, is dead. pic.twitter.com/YdPjI0E0dL
— Leonardo Carella (@leonardocarella) December 20, 2017
Una prece per l’albero di Natale di piazza Venezia (che non ce l’ha fatta ad arrivare a Natale). 50.000 Euro “buttati” al vento. Con buona pace dei romani… pic.twitter.com/p3S5M0ih0Y
— Donato Rigante (@donatorigante) December 21, 2017
The symbol of an endless Rome decadence. “SPELACCHIO”, the frail and shabby Christmas Tree of the Eternal City recently set in Piazza Venezia, has sadly died just after a couple of weeks. #italy pic.twitter.com/DtXiaEoMT4
— Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) December 19, 2017
It must be admitted that the piazza Venezia Christmas tree, so sad and bald during the day, is rather lovely after dark. pic.twitter.com/RjHjfbH3rc
— Agnes Crawford (@understandrome) December 11, 2017
Christmas trees can actually affect the tourism of a country significantly. Last year, the Canadian city Montreal hoisted a hideous 85-foot balsam fir, decorated with Canadian Tire logos, which turned into a social media hit, even earning its own Twitter account.
Knowing when to take advantage of a good thing, Montreal brought back the ugly tree this year, building an entire village around it. “It could become a Montreal tradition – instead of having a magnificent, perfect tree every year, you have one that’s authentic, crooked, a little bizarre with personality that could be super original and a mark of distinction for Montreal,” said Philippe Pelletier, who’s part of the group overseeing the tree.