The mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno turned on the lights of the 18m Christmas tree in Rome’s central Piazza Venezia using an iPad.
From Pistoia in Tuscany the fir tree, which reportedly cost €10,000, replaced the white cone-shaped papier mâché structure that was transferred to EUR amid harsh criticism just one day after it went up on 5 December.
Switching on the ecologically-friendly LED lights, Alemanno dedicated their Italian tricolour theme to the leader of the Lega Nord party Umberto Bossi, “and all those who still do not believe in national unity.”
Then the green, white and red lights, representing the Italian flag on the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, gradually lit up Via del Corso, stretching the 1.6 km from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo.
Also lit up was a 25m spruce outside the Colosseum and a crib in the centre of Piazza Venezia.