Rome parks prepare to reopen after lockdown

Gradual reopening of Rome's parks in Phase Two of coronavirus emergency.

Rome will begin reopening its parks from 4 May, the first day of the so-called Phase Two in Italy's coronavirus emergency, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The first two parks to open to the public will be Villa Pamphilj and Villa Borghese (the latter of which has never technically been closed), which will be monitored by drones to ensure that people don't gather in groups, according to ANSA.

Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero reports that the city is currently engaged in talks regarding the reopening of parks, with one possibility reportedly under consideration being whether to open them in the morning only - from 08.00 until lunchtime.
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Prime minister Giuseppe Conte, unveiling Italy's Phase Two plan on Sunday night, said that public parks and villas can reopen from 4 May but mayors will have the power to close them if they see fit to do so.

Walking and jogging will be permitted, so long as people practice social distancing, however gatherings of any kind remain strictly prohibited.

Villa Pamphilj has been subjected to vandalism throughout the lockdown, with damage caused to 26 marble signs, three statues and two antique flower pots since the start of this year, according to the city.

In addition, the park's Cupid Fountain recently suffered extensive damage at the hands of vandals, an act described as "shameful" by Rome mayor Virginia Raggi.