Only three months before opening of the special Holy Year.
Announcing the city's plans for the coming Jubilee year Rome's mayor, Ignazio Marino, has outlined details and costs of some of the projects to make life easier for the 20 million or so pilgrims expected to visit Rome during the Holy Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis will open on 8 December.
The public works mentioned so far include patching and resurfacing roads, widening pavements, providing more green areas, improving public transport links between stations – in particular tram connections between the city's railway stations (Termini, Ostiense, Trastevere and St Peter's) – and new sign posting.
Four special pilgrim routes will be laid out with easier access for the disabled, more benches and public washrooms. The areas around the main basilicas, St Peter's, St John Lateran, St Paul's outside the Walls and the Holy Cross in Jerusalem will all be given face-lifts.
The mayor has described the plans as ricucitura urbana (mending the city) and insists that the initial €200 million budget (€50 million has already been approved with another €150 million expected at the end of August) will also make the quality of life better for residents as well as pilgrims – but only once the road and construction works are finished.