Human chain protest to stave off eviction of historic bar
A last-ditch protest to save Caffè della Pace from eviction was held on 27 November when a human chain was formed around the historic bar near Piazza Navona. The flash mob comprised employees of the bar as well as local residents, passersby and figures from the world of entertainment.
The protestors made the latest in a series of appeals to the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino to stop the owners, the Pontifical Teutonic Institute on nearby Via di S. Maria dell'Anima, from turning the popular bar into a luxury hotel.
The threat of eviction has loomed over the bar since 2009 when the German religious institution failed to renew the lease, leading to several court disputes between the landlord and the family that has run the bar for over 40 years.
Following a high-profile campaign, the bar's supporters received false hope in March when the owners said they were willing to recognise "the historical value of the business", following a meeting with city councillors.
However there was a turnaround in events and within ten days the threat of eviction was described as "inevitable" by Giulio Anticoli, president of the Botteghe Storiche association which has spearheaded the battle to save Caffè del Pace.
Speaking during the protest on 27 November, Anticoli said that despite collecting 35,000 signatures opposing the bar's eviction, the mayor was unwilling to listen to their pleas and that the bar would be closed in a "matter of weeks." Over the decades Caffè della Pace has attracted celebrities such as Federico Fellini, Bill Clinton, Al Pacino and Madonna.