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voters in Rome Gave his mayor the boot, demanding a fresh start this week.

The ancient city, “La Grande Belleza” (The Great Beauty), is falling apart, as more than a few residents have visited it. And in the last few days have seen things really go up in flames. A fire over the weekend destroyed Rome’s famous Iron Bridge. Then on Monday night, 30 municipal buses burned down in a parking lot in near-apocalyptic scenes, leaving little clarity about exactly what went down but which were full of symbolism.


“Fire is a symbolic image for the disaster that is Rome. Like ancient Rome. Burning,” said Barbara Lessona, a mother, businesswoman, and civic activist. Along with an army of about a thousand other Romans who love and cry for their city, Lesona spends most of her free time taking matters into her own hands. Hands that get very dirty. She regularly cleans parks and roads along with a brigade of volunteers. Lessona was doing this five years before outgoing mayor Virginia Raggi was elected from a new political movement on a wave of hope linked to the young new face of an anti-incumbency mayor.

However, Lesona feared that the situation had worsened since then, and she worried that the city had become a hullless ship. Raggi is out. It is not clear who will drive Rome next, as a runoff is needed between the two candidates still standing.

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“It’s a political situation like that. It was a vote of anger, not passion. Unfortunately, the last five years have killed the city because Raggi’s way of ruling the city was to save money and not spend money. One To make beautiful cities, you have to invest, you have to involve citizens who are completely handicapped.”

Lessona said she felt the city was drowning in bad blood in the Bermuda Triangle that surrounds city hall, regional and local politicians and residents.

Virginia Raggi casts her vote in 2016.

When Raggi entered office, a scandal called “Mafia Capital” occurred in which City Hall officials worked with organized crime gangs or as organized crime gangs for the treasury of Milk City. Public transport was in freefall, with a door symbolizing a subway zipping through underground tunnels in the summer of 2015 with a door dangerously open threatening to suck passengers into a black hole. And, a popular blog called “Rome is Disgusting” attracted media attention not only from the Romans but of the world, documenting the city’s woes, measuring its mountains as unchecked waste.

Raggi insisted last month that she did right in the city against overwhelming odds when she hoped to secure another stint. “We saved a city from the brink, a city that was completely abandoned. You see the bad habit of spending public money, which is every taxpayer’s money, by delivering public services and goods using direct contracts. The bad habit of buying and not through tenders created an ill system of poor management of the city in Rome which was later discovered by the ‘mafia capital’ trial.”

Roggi, the youngest mayor of Rome and the first woman to hold office, also said those people worked against her because “we are in Italy.”

A wild boar walks behind a dustbin in Rome on September 24.

However, Corriere della Sera columnist Paolo Conti echoed Lesona’s lament that there was infighting in Raggi’s government. “Our newspaper credits Virginia Raggi when she won the election democratically. Now, it is clear that the past five years have been spent under constant slogans and official declarations that did not match the actual actions, five years against the regional government. There was strong animosity. Instead Rome’s capital city and Rome’s wider urban areas became an important counterpart to solving the problems – sometimes she was even in conflict with the central government. Well, I believe That it was all a mixture that not only worked, but at times severely damaged the city.”

Rome’s latest problem involves animals, not people. Perhaps the Romans should feel lucky that the city hasn’t really grown beyond angry versions of the mythical she-wolf that symbolizes the city. Still, herds of wild boar roaming the dustbins around the city these days are not at all benign.

“We’ve been attacked here,” said restaurant writer Pino Consolini. “Yesterday evening my sister was closing her shoe store over there, pulling down the shutters at 8 pm and she found about 30 of them outside her store. Here they often enter (the outside area of ​​the restaurant) , they usually pass at night around 1 a.m. around closing time, but now they come here at any time of the day.”

The wild boar population in Italy has increased by 15% since 2019. Some have blamed the out-of-control garbage problem Rome has long been facing, but the pandemic also encouraged the animals to venture onto empty streets they hadn’t roamed around before. .

And then, the buses—not the ones that went up in flames in the parking lot on Monday night, but the ones that caught fire midway, an incident that has reportedly happened three dozen times in the past 18 months. poor maintenance. The London Times quoted a Rome newspaper editor the other day as saying, “Rome is the only city in the world where you blame ATAC (city transport operator), not ISIS, when a bus explodes “

Rome is a special story with a long and torturous history of misrule that has escaped its downward spiral. Raggi’s Five Star Movement was starting its political ascent in 2016 when it won the Mayor’s election. One of these latest local elections in Italy has been that the Five Star star is going down.