I returned to Rome a little over a week ago after Thanksgiving in Canada. From the start of Fall weather in Ontario, going mushroom picking wearing a jacket, to 25C and sunny in Rome. I had to dig out my summer stuff as it has been hot and also quite humid since I got here.
It was nice to be back but I was horrified by the state of the city. We have a communal garbage collection in our neighbourhood which means that one has to take one’s garbage down to the street and put it in the appropriate bin, namely organic, plastic/metal, glass and non-recyclable garbage. For some unknown reason, the bins are not being emptied. So if yuo look up, you see the beautiful dome of St. Peter’s basilica but you have to keep your eyes down as the sidewalk is overflowing with garbage. All attempts at differentiating it have ceased. It is truly an ugly sight and I have no doubt that rats come out to feast at night. I am told that the Mayor cancelled all the garbage collection contracts on account of corruption and has not found other companies to replace the ones fired. The city council has also cut park maintenance so it will be sad to see the gardens of the Villa Borghese and Villa Pamphili falling into decline.
Down at our local daily market, several stalls have shut down, something about the taxes being too high for them to make a profit. The vibrant atmosphere of the market is no longer there and it seems like the rest of the vendors are just hanging on. Italy’s economy is in dire straits and the EU parliament is threatening to introduce austerity measures. The new coalition government is not a happy marriage and it’s hard to say where the country is heading. At least, since the Brexit fiasco neither party is pushing for a break from the EU yet.
On the positive side, Rome has somehow survived all sorts of changes including powerful invasions so it will pull through somehow. One small thing that cheered me up was that the trees which had been cut down in the garden next door have sprouted new branches and are growing again. Hard to believe as they were cut right down. Not all have regrown but those that have, seem to be doing well and I even spotted a parrot a couple of days ago. Miracles do happen so I haven’t given up hope yet.