The number of Rom Romany people originally coming from eastern Europe living in Rome has risen from 10,000 in 2001 to 15,000 in 2005. They live in 26 encampments around the city and in the past few days the city council has closed the largest of these in Vicolo Savini, near to the Ponte Marconi, moving the 770 inhabitants to a new site equipped with tents and proper sanitary facilities at Castel Romano beside the Via Pontina on the south side of the city. The old campsite, which was one of the largest in Europe, will now become a car park for the Romes third university, Roma Tre.
The new site does not satisfy the local World Wildlife Fund, WWF, which claims that the city council has sited it in an important protected area, at Decima-Malafede.
The site is in fact a temporary measure and within two months the residents will be given three options: that they return to their country of origin, Romania, Bosnia, Kosovo or Croatia; that they accept 500 a month per family for the next four years to pay rent for emergency housing; that they move to a new encampment, yet to be established.