Rome Christmas tree: Netflix sponsors Spelacchio

Rome's 2019 Christmas tree will be illuminated in Piazza Venezia on 8 December.

Rome's Christmas tree, popularly known by now as Spelacchio, is sponsored for the second year running by US media-services provider Netflix and will be in Piazza Venezia over the festive season.

The 80,000 led lights on the tree, a 22-m high fir from northern Italy, will be switched on by the city's mayor Virginia Raggi on 8 December.

Spelacchio will be decorated with 1,000 red and gold decorations and will be illuminated 24 hours a day until 6 January.

Raggi announced the news on her Facebook page with the message: "Our Spelacchio is coming back to Rome!", accompanied by a surreal promotional trailer featuring Italian television presenter Gigi Marzullo.

The video begins with images relating to Spelacchio's global fame, from red carpet photo-shoots and the front page of PINE magazine to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

However somewhere along the way Spelacchio becomes disillusioned with the festive season, tweeting: "Christmas is overrated."

Luckily for us, though, Spelacchio subsequently regains his belief in the spirit of Christmas thanks to his friends Klaus and Jesper who just happen to be the stars of the Netflix Christmas movie Klaus.

And guess who will be in Rome to meet children under the tree over Christmas? Klaus and Jesper!

In the video we see Spelacchio relaxing in a yoga class when he receives a call from Marzullo, inviting him back to Rome:

 

Earlier this year Rome launched an appeal for a private sponsor of the 2019 Christmas tree. The tender, valued at "not less than €400,000" covers the installation and decoration of the tree, without incurring any cost to the capital.

In September Netflix won the bid after the envelope containing the only offer of sponsorship - according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica - was opened at city hall.

Last year's Netflix-sponsored Christmas tree was a success and came a year after a specimen so miserable-looking that it was nicknamed Spelacchio on account of its "manginess."

The original Spelacchio in 2017

Spelacchio drew negative commentary from around the world and was likened to a giant toilet brush.

Eventually, however, Spelacchio won the sympathy and affection of Romans who festooned its increasingly threadbare branches with hand-written messages, alternating between love, irony and condolences.

The tree spawned popular hashtags on Twitter including #siamotuttispelacchio, #jesuisspelacchio and #prayforspelacchio, and one memorable message even called for poor Spelacchio to be buried at the Pantheon.

The renewed sponsorship by Netflix sees the US giant strengthen its links with Rome after it filmed the hit series and movie Suburra in the capital.

Cover image: Rome's 2018 Christmas tree by Netflix. Photo La Repubblica.

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Address Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome Christmas tree: Netflix sponsors Spelacchio

Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy