Viale Alberto Sordi

Viale Museo Villa Borghese is to become Viale Alberto Sordi on 24 February to mark the 10th anniversary of Alberto Sordi’s death. Viale Museo Villa Borghese runs from Via Porta Pinciana to Galleria Borghese, one of Rome’s foremost museums.

However according to a report in Corriere della Sera, Italia Nostra, Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), the Borghese family, the director of the Galleria Borghese museum and various other academics and intellectuals are opposed to changing the name of a section of one of Rome’s most distinguished tree-lined avenues to that of one of its foremost comedians.

Sordi was a quintessential Roman, with a comic sense of the absurd. Often an innocent victim of circumstances, often vulgar, sentimental and provincial, his characters epitomised much of what it was to be Roman in the post-war years. Go into almost any traditional restaurant in the city and there is still a photo of him on the wall, digging into a huge plate of pasta. It is said that almost a million people turned up to his funeral at S. Giovanni in Laterano in February 2003.

Sordi, the star of the tragic-comic film Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo, has already usurped the noble Colonna family in the centre of town, where the once-sedate Galleria Colonna is now the busy mini shopping mall Galleria Alberto Sordi. Now it is the illustrious Borghese name – redolent of cardinals and princes – that is about to take a knock.

Sordi would probably have been the first to see the funny side of the transformation.