Rome tends to chaos, but it’s beautiful. Early spring has sneaked up on us overnight this year, and the trees aligned along many streets in the city are in full white, pink and fuscsia bloom.
Footbal is very much part of the city life. It’s the lingua franca of the early morning required stop for a quick cappuccino at the local bar, especially on Mondays. I learned early on that a knowledge of the weekend games is a godsend to navigate the social small-talk fug of Monday blues.
So it wasn’t such a surprise that the municipal anti-establishment junta finally capitulated and decided that the Roma AS football club would be allowed to build its own stadium in the city. The party are staunchly anti-cement and anti-any-new-development projects and had stubbornly nixed the whole idea from day one. They were brought to their political senses last month when the whole Roma cheering section engaged in heated chants and insults against them during a match, and the Roma radio station started attacking their party.
A good three quarters of the powerful taxi lobby runs on Roma radio frequency, and the drivers were incensed that Ms Mayor – who supported their anti-Über seven-day strike – was denying them a stadium.
So thanks to football, we have at least one new city project creeping forward, which should create some very needed new jobs.
More positive football news. We get invaded from time to time by hordes of drunken fans from other countries (getting drunk is not part of mainstream Italian culture), and in 2015 the fans of a Dutch club went on a rampage. They fought police for hours in the historical center, destroyed storefronts and smashed hundreds of bottles on a number of priceless monuments, including the beautiful Barcaccia fountain in Piazza di Spagna.
Now the good news: a Dutch group of individuals and associations set up a special fund and recently donated the sum of € 100,000 to the city of Rome to try to make amends for the disgrace. The Barcaccia had already been repaired, but the symbolism is strong and welcome anyway. The city will use the funds to restore two other Bernini fountains, one that sits in the center of Piazza Barberini – the fountain of the “Bees”, and the other in the central verdant section of viale Tiziano, in a mainly residential quarter of the city.
Spring is looking good.
Photos: blossoms: 14thcountry.com; cappuccino: en.wikipedia.com; Roma AS stadium project : http://www.meisstudio.com; Viale Tiziano Bernini fountain: http://www.roma2oggi.it; Bernini Fontana delle Api: http://www.arte.it