Mayor Raggi's 'mangy' Christmas tree declared dead

The 'mangy' Christmas tree. PHOTO: Meteoweb

ROME - The giant Christmas tree erected in Piazza Venezia is officially dead, confirmed Rome’s Environmental Department this week. For the second year running, the pine tree erected next to the colossal Altare Della Patria, in one of the busiest squares in Rome, has been subject to international ridicule.

 This year’s pine tree has been dubbed “spelacchio,” which roughly translated means mangy or baldy. And indeed, after losing its needles just two weeks after being erected, a week before Christmas, the tree does appear sparse. Spelacchio follows the ‘Austerity Tree’ of last Christmas, which one Instagram user criticised as “the saddest Xmas tree in Rome “Even in war-torn Iraq they have a better tree!” #XmessFail.”

 Il Messaggero has reported that Spelacchio was not properly covered during transportation from the Northern Italian Dolomites, and declared the sight as embarrassing for Italy, commenting that “in Russia, they’ve dubbed our dying tree a ‘toilet brush.’”

 According to The Local, a Naples hair specialist has used the joke to promote its own brand. “Don’t be like Spelacchio, if you have problems with hair thinning or baldness, call us for a free consultation.”

 Some have seen the lacklustre tree as a symbol for Roman Mayor Virginia Raggi’s poor care of the city, as problems such as slow transportation and rubbish pile-ups have plagued her reputation over the year. However, she has reportedly launched an inquiry into the demise of the tree. Consumers’ group Codocans are also mentioned in Il Messaggero as asking why nearly 50,000 euros was spent on such an unhealthy tree.  

 Fortunately, there is a full red fir tree standing outside the Vatican which Romans can continue to gaze upon instead.