Rome plans to remove horse-drawn carriages

Botticelle horses to be replaced by electric vehicles.

Another attempt is being made to replace Rome's horse-drawn carriages with electric vehicles according to plans revived by the city's environment councillor Pinuccia Montanari of the Movimento 5 Stelle.

The electric carriages have been gathering dust since they were first presented, but soon abandoned, by former Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno in 2012.

Montanari wants to make the electric vehicles – a cross between an electric car and a retro-style carriage – available by June, reports Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Alemanno dropped the electric carriage idea after caving in under pressure from Rome's 41 horse coach operators. However his decision to scrap the project was condemned by animal rights activists who had hoped that the botticelle would be phased out completely.

The dark-red vehicles can carry five people, have a maximum speed of 25km an hour (the typical speed of the horse-drawn carriage) and can travel for 30 km when fully charged.

Alemanno's successor Ignazio Marino introduced stricter legislation governing the botticelle in the wake of several high-profile incidents of horses collapsing under the strain of carrying multiple tourists during summer heatwaves.

Photo Corriere della Sera