Rome's artificial Christmas tree removed

Rome’s city council removed a giant white papier-mâché Christmas tree on 6 December, the day after putting it up in Piazza Venezia.

Its removal followed widespread criticism of the city’s administration. Political opponents rounded on Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno, with Stefano Pedica of the Italia dei Valori party describing the tree as “the epitome of bad taste”.

Not everyone was against the idea however. Calling the situation a “surreal controversy” the regional president of the Greens, Angelo Bonelli, said an artificial tree was better than a 20-metre spruce cut from the Alps.

Alemanno admitted that the conical tree wasn’t to his taste, saying he had given orders for it to be replaced with a classic Christmas tree, because he likes “traditional things". The mayor blamed the company subcontracted to oversee the setting up of the city’s decorations.

The lighting-up ceremony for Piazza Venezia and Via del Corso is scheduled for 19.30 on 8 December. Last year’s tree was a spruce from Fiemme, a mountainous area in the Trentino region of northern Italy. In the early hours of 6 December, the Vatican unveiled its 30m Christmas tree in St Peter’s Square. Its lights will be switched on at 16.30 on 16 December.