Rome mayor becomes cartoon figure to protect city

Rome turns to comics to teach young people to respect their city.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has been portrayed as a vigilessa police officer in a comic strip with a civic message, aimed at young people and presented by the mayor herself.

Designed to raise awareness about the importance of "civil cohabitation and positive behaviour", the cartoons draw attention to the new legislation governing decorum in the capital, which came into effect last June.

Under the title Proteggi il cuore di Roma (Protect the heart of Rome), the 20 cartoons contain messages such as: "The pavements are not ashtrays" and "Rome's fountains are not pools", and were made free of charge by illustrator Mario Improta.

"Protecting the heart of Rome is not just a comic, but an act of love for the city. We want the messages contained [in the city's new rules] to arrive in a direct, simple and positive way to the youngest, said Raggi, adding that young people "can become 'ambassadors' of good deeds in defence of Rome, our home".

The cartoons have been printed in leaflet form and distributed in Rome schools. For details see city website.