Retake Roma's 15,000 volunteers work hard to tackle Rome's urban decay.
“Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was Retake Roma. It was built up over 10 years, by thousands of people, in every district of the city. Ten years are not enough to change Rome, but 10 years are enough to make an extraordinary story, that of Retake.”
To mark the 10th anniversary of its foundation, Retake Roma organises a day of celebration dedicated to civic pride and the environment at the Parco degli Acquedotti on Saturday 19 September, from 15.00-19.30.
The non-profit organisation, founded in 2010 by American long-term Rome resident Rebecca Spitzmiller, now counts more than 15,000 volunteers, divided into 70 neighbourhood groups, plus another 10 groups that carry out work with schools and social inclusion projects.
Retake Roma is a voluntary, non-profit organisation engaged in the fight against degradation, in the enhancement of public areas, committed to improving the beauty of the capital's urban decor while spreading a sense of civic pride and responsibility.Retake operates by mobilising volunteers, tapping into residents' desires to improve their neighbourhoods, and working through educational projects and public-private partnerships, including with municipal refuse collection agency AMA.
Last year Retake carried out 965 initiatives in the capital, with an average of 20 clean-up jobs a week.
It all started a decade ago, by chance, when Retake founder Spitzmiller decided to take matters into her own hands after her condominium assembly refused to allocate funds to clean the vandalised façades of her apartment building. Together with her son she removed the graffiti herself, using oven cleaner.
This led to a group of friends volunteering to tackle the city's urban decay and, importantly, the "inertia and indolence" which allowed the vandalism and neglect to take hold in the first place.
“It was supposed to be called 'Save Rome' but it sounded too patronising" - volunteers told Italian newspaper La Repubblica - "So we decided to look for something more energetic, positive and so 'Retake' was born."In 2018 the president of Italy honoured Spitzmiller with an Order of Merit in recognition of Retake's example of "civil commitment, dedication to the common good and testimony of republican values."
On 19 September, volunteers from the 80 Retake groups will meet in Parco degli Acquedotti to celebrate Romans "taking back their city, step by step," challenging a culture of vandalism, neglect and apathy with a positive, responsible attitude in their efforts to make Rome a better place for us all to live and visit.
View on Map
Retake Roma celebrates 10 years of cleaning up Rome
Via Lemonia, 221, 00174 Roma RM, Italy