Sarcastic post by Rome mayoral candidate goes viral but city says project is work in progress.
A newly asphalted bicycle track along Rome's river Tiber has become the target of derision since it was highlighted by a prominent candidate in the race to become the city's next mayor.
Carlo Calenda, leader of the liberal political party Azione, took to Twitter with a photo of the resurfaced bike path in a sarcastic post targeting Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi and her deputy, the transport councillor Pietro Calabrese.
Calenda's tongue-in-cheek tweet, shared hundreds of times, portrays Calabrese as Raggi's "court painter" who is asked by the mayor: "How can we further disfigure this ungrateful city?"
The court painter replies to say: "We have done everything possible to punish the Romans: dirt, traffic, decline," along with a reference to the city dropping the Olympics, to "make the Romans understand how unworthy they are."
When the mayor says: "That's not enough for me!," the court painter suggests "pouring asphalt" along the Tiber.
Calenda's post has kicked off a debate about the aesthetic quality of the works, which resurface an existing track, with many Romans describing the new bike path as an "eyesore."
However, in a post on Facebook, the city assembly's spokesperson Daniele Diaco said the project is a work in progress, with the tarmac the "first level" of the finished track.
"Not being able to dig (because it is an embankment) it was necessary to create a new layer to act as a base," wrote Diaco.
Suggesting that Calenda "should keep quiet," Rome's infrastructure councillor Linda Meleo said: "Making judgments before works are complete is premature and misleading for the citizens, especially for the cyclists who will use it, a maintenance that has not been carried out for over 15 years."
Una mattina la sindaca di Roma si svegliò corrucciata e chiese al pittore di corte Calabrese: “come possiamo ulteriormente deturpare questa città ingrata?”. “Mia sindaca, rispose il pittore, abbiamo fatto tutto il possibile per punire i romani: sporcizia, traffico, declino” pic.twitter.com/g5JBSjxzk2— Carlo Calenda (@CarloCalenda) April 29, 2021
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Rome bike path along river Tiber sparks debate
Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 00146 Roma RM, Italy