Rome bike path along river Tiber sparks debate

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."

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Address Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 00146 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome bike path along river Tiber sparks debate

Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 00146 Roma RM, Italy

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Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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