Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Rome's Falling Trees: Here Come the Stumps



Rome has a tree problem.  They're falling down.  It's happening at the rate of about 1 tree per day since the beginning of the year.  Many of the trees are old and weak.  Streets such as via Cristoforo Colombo, where the problem is especially severe, were planted in the 1930s and 1940s, when areas then on the city's periphery were developed. A wet, windy winter and spring has contributed.


This may sound like typical Rome media hysteria, which is common enough.  But falling trees present real dangers.  Falling trees--some of them massive--have hit automobiles and buses, sending drivers and occupants to the hospital.  Just recently, trees have fallen in viale dell Milizie (Prati), on the Aventino, in the town of Acilia, in via Volturno and via Pacinotti, and on the Rome-Lido railroad line.

The city government is doing its best (which, knowing the government, probably isn't very good) to deal with the problem.  It's monitoring some 82,000 at-risk trees and has already removed about 700 trees thought to be potentially hazardous.  Still, the trees keep falling.

Among the serious issues raised by the falling trees is what will the city look like if and when thousands of trees are taken down.  There will be promises of replanting, some of which will be kept. But one consequence is predictable: there will be stumps.  There already are thousands of stumps along Rome's streets, left there by the city department that cuts down trees.

Stump as trash receptacle

Blossoming stump
Flower shop adaptive re-use, viale Regina Margherita, Salario 
Handsome old stump in scooter park, della Vittoria

Seriously large stumps, Prati

Whatever their good intentions, these folks would appear to be unconcerned about the stumps they leave behind.  It would seem to be easy enough to leave a 6-inch stump, but most stumps are larger than that, at two and even three feet, and some are 20 feet or more.  While stump-grinding machines (essential to replanting) are common in other parts of the world, in Rome they seem not to exist.





Stump display, Villa Torlonia, where Mussolini once lived
Middle-of-sidewalk stump, Trieste
Stump trifecta, via Salaria

Despite stumps, a rare successful replanting.

Bill 







And so the stumps remain, mocking most replanting efforts, multiplying as the trees go down.

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