Italy: Meet the 20-year-old who wants to be Mayor of Rome

20-year-old Federico Lobuono is the first to challenge Virginia Raggi for Rome's top job.

Federico Lobuono, a 20-year-old entrepreneur, has declared himself a candidate in the race for Rome mayor and in doing so becomes the youngest candidate to run for mayor in the history of Italy, according to Italian media.

Originally from Bari but living in the capital for the last five years, Lobuono is running under the "La Giovane Roma 2021" civic list, comprising exclusively under-25s, with "more girls than boys" reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"We must give young people back their voice" - he states in a publicity campaign on Facebook, adding: "We are the future, it's true, but we want to influence the present."

"I believe strongly that one of Rome's main problems is the fact that politics does not have a perspective, but always seeks immediate consent without caring for the future of the people" - says Lobuono - "To those who turn up their noses, judging me for my 20 years, I reply that it was not the young people who reduced Rome to this state."

Promising that La Giovane Roma will focus on young people's talents and ideas, "working deliberately far from traditional politics," Lobuono states: "Youth has no rivals and fears nothing, but we are not deluded and we know well how complicated it can be to manage a city, let alone the capital."

So who exactly is Federico Lobuono and what does he represent?

Born in Lecce and raised in Bari, Federico Lobuono arrived in Rome aged 15, with his mother, in September 2015, reports La Repubblica.

He settled first in the Pigneto area and admits that he found the move challenging: "I thought there was something wrong with Rome, but five years later I understand that it was the administrators that had left the city in decay who were wrong. Here I found opportunities that no other place in Italy would have been able to give me."

Federico Lobuono. Photo La Repubblica.

Lobuono has launched two startups, specialising in communication and publishing, and has worked as a strategic consultant for companies and politicians, with a fascination for the management of public affairs.

He was nominated among the 20 most promising young people in Italy by The Post Internazionale, and attended the summer school of politics organised by former premier and leader of the liberal Italia Viva party, Matteo Renzi, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Lobuono lives in Rome's central Monti quarter with his mother and dog Escobar. As for his hobbies: "I love reading, walking and I believe in politics."

But which kind of politics does La Giovane Roma represent? "We are neither left nor right, we talk to those who respect the values of the constitution. Are we like the Movimento 5 Stelle? No, we focus on skills," he tells La Repubblica.

Lobuono says La Giovane Roma programne will focus on 10 areas: "culture and tourism, transport, mobility and traffic, environment, rubbish and decorum, legality, transparency and safety, school and university, smart city and SID (Streamlining bureaucracy, Innovation and Digitisation), sports and youth policies, suburbs and social policies, urban planning and the open city, participation and active citizenship."

A European capital

Lobuono believes that these are the themes that need to be developed to "transform Rome into a European capital," writes La Repubblica.

"A city where you don't risk your life by taking the bus, where the entrance to parks is not blocked by fallen trees. A city from which you no longer run away to look for work. Where there is no distance between the centre and the suburbs, where there are no school dropouts. Where everyone has a house and nobody is obliged to live on the street. A Rome that lives up to its name."