Prisoners, not soldiers, to fix Rome's roads

President Mattarella dismisses idea of army fixing Rome's potholes.

A plan to draft in the army to fix Rome's potholed roads has been scrapped following the intervention of Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella.

In his new year speech the president said the function of the armed forces "can not be distorted by assigning them to tasks not compatible with their high specialisation", effectively closing down the contentious idea of soldiers filling the capital's potholes.

That proposal, announced with much fanfare by the city's mayor Virginia Raggi last month, was subsequently rejected by the senate and criticised by Italy's defence minister Elisbetta Trenta.

However Rome has another plan to fix its streets: specially-trained prisoners from the city's Rebibbia jail.

The prisoners, all selected on the grounds of being at low risk and serving short-term jail sentences, will begin repairing Rome's roads from 15 January, according to daily newspaper La Repubblica.

Photo Il Sole 24 ore