Rome clean by Christmas says new mayor

Gualtieri promises to tidy up and relaunch a city plagued by a rubbish crisis.

Rome's new mayor Roberto Gualtieri, who took office on Thursday, has pledged to "clean up the city by Christmas, perhaps sooner if we can move fast."

The former economy minister and member of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) was speaking during a question and answer forum hosted by journalists at Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"I sense strong expectations and an international climate of growing confidence in Italy and towards Rome", said Gualtieri, who defeated his centre-right rival Enrico Michetti in a run-off vote on Monday.

The new mayor said he held talks with the top management of the city's waste collection agency AMA yesterday, after taking over from Virginia Raggi, of the populist Movimento 5 Stelle, who left office after five years.

Outlining plans to deal with a city plagued by a garbage crisis, Gualtieri proposed an "extraordinary cleaning of Rome", telling reporters at La Repubblica: "We will remove the heaps of trash, we will sweep and clean the streets, we will mow the grass and we will clean the drains."

He said that AMA would be central to the clean-up operation but there would also be "external support."

Signalling that "a change of pace is needed," the 55-year-old mayor promised an administration of "great quality", with the names of his team expected to be made public in the coming days.

Gualtieri told La Repubblica that Rome "can be at the forefront of the ecological transition", repeating his previously-stated goals of making the capital "a city of 15 minutes" in terms of the services available in each area.

The mayor highlighted the immense opportunity provided by billions of euro in funds from the National Plan of Recovery and Resilience (PNRR) to relaunch the city as it prepares for the Vatican's Jubilee of 2025.

Gualtieri's other priorities will focus on innovation, culture, social infrastructure, urban regeneration and making the city more attractive for international investors.

Longer term goals include decongesting Rome's traffic by carrying out "structural interventions" as well as investing in public transport, including new buses and tramways, and launching a new mobility app.

The mayor denied rumours published by some media yesterday that he would raise the tariffs for the city's strisce blu parking spaces.

Gualtieri also said he would relaunch the Estate Romana programme of summer cultural events, in every district, saying: "I want Romans to get used to moving to other neighbourhoods to discover them through cultural events."

He added that he would like to organise a Notte Bianca, when the city's residents and visitors are entertained by culture and entertainment all night long.

Photo Corriere della Sera