Giancarlo DAlessandro, the Rome city councillor responsible for public works, has asked the citys electricity utility, ACEA, to prepare a plan to economise on Romes street lighting and on public lighting in general.
There are 170,000 street lights in Rome, most of them throwing more light up than down; many of these could be turned down, or even off, late at night. The plan will fix limits for the maximum light allowed for shop windows and signs, which may have to be turned off at midnight, for ornamental lighting and for the floodlighting of important monuments. Beams of laser light, often used by nightclubs, may be banned.
Astronomers are delighted since the amount of artificial light in Rome makes it impossible to study the sky at night. Even the astrological observatory at Monte Porzio Catone in the Castelli Romani is affected by the quantity of artificial light; to see the sky clearly astronomers have to go to the mountains in the nearby Abruzzi region.