Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 650 posts

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Piazza's Filthy: Why?

Piazza Bologna is filthy--on Sunday, that is.  According to La Repubblica, it's filthy (sporca) on Sunday because of funding cuts for overtime workers--gli straordinari--that have prevented L'Ama (the governmental entity in charge of cleaning Rome's streets and squares, the folks with the dark red trucks--photo, right) from hiring people to clean up on that day.

What makes it especially troubling is that the Piazza, located in an upper-middle-class area in Rome's northeast, is often an active square on Saturday nights, a place where one finds the "movida" (the getting together of large numbers of young people). 

The newspapers present this as a social tragedy.  The article opens with the story of a young mother pushing a stroller, only to have it hung up on a bunch of plastic cups.   Worse still, a group of old people (anziani/ancients) reading newspapers on nearby benches find themselves surrounded by beer bottles, wastepaper and plastic bags.  The president of the Municipio (the local jurisdiction) reported that he had received "dozens" of phone calls from area residents "infuriated" by the degraded condition of the piazza. 

OK, so the piazza is a mess on Sundays, and the budget won't support overtime.  As everyone knows, Italy is a financial mess, and the city's no exception.  As the papers often say, things are "in tilt." 

In a situation such as this, would it be too much to ask the local folks who enjoy Piazza Bologna on Sundays to lend a hand and pick up the trash?  With 2 or 3 people--even old people--it might take 20 minutes to make the whole piazza look respectable, 3 minutes to pick up the junk around the benches and on the paths. 

Yes, it is too much to ask--in Rome, anyway.  Romans have little sense of working voluntarily for the public good.  If the "state" doesn't do it, it won't get done.  They pay their taxes, so the thinking goes, and that's enough.  

Well, it isn't enough.   What stinks in Piazza Bologna isn't the trash, it's the attitude that most Romans have toward their public spaces, and toward lending a hand--voluntarily--to solve a public problem.
Bill   [from Dianne- okay, Italians are not Canadians, but neither are we.  You're being a bit hard on them, aren't you, Bill?]

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