The new terminus of the extended number 8 tram was launched officially on the morning of 6 June at its new location in Piazza S. Marco, just off Piazza Venezia.
The tram now bypasses its old terminus in Largo Argentina, turning the corner from Via Arenula onto Via Florida and continuing along Via delle Botteghe Oscure to Piazza S. Marco.
The extended tramline has been designed to connect commuters directly to the numerous buses that pass through Piazza Venezia. It has also led to the pedestrianisation of the area outside Teatro Argentina, following the removal of its old terminus.
However the extension has not been without its critics. The project has caused major traffic complications to the city centre over its 12-month construction, and the 450-m section of extra track has cost the capital a total of €6.6 million.
During the testing of the tram in recent days, local residents and shop keepers complained of the noise which they fear being stuck with every day from early morning until midnight. In particular they point to the screech generated when the tram negotiates the sharp turn from Via Arenula onto Via Florida.
The terminus was inaugurated by mayor Gianni Alemanno — now facing a run-off election on 9-10 June — who was confronted with a small group of protesters accusing him of using the ceremony as an electioneering opportunity.
The number 8 tram was launched in 1998 and runs from Casaletto, east of the centre, through Gianicolese and Trastevere before arriving in Piazza Venezia.