Rome's official Christmas tree becomes joke for residents over losing needles

Rome's official Christmas tree becomes joke for residents over losing needles”

"A lot of funds were spent for a dead tree, and there is possible damage to the public purse", read the suit filed Tuesday.

Rome's official Christmas tree, set up in the centre of Piazza Venezia, was shedding its needles today.

A representative for the capital city of Rome confirmed the appearance of the sickly tree, which has been mocked on social media and given the nickname "Spelacchio", meaning "shabby" or "balding" in Italian, would not improve because, like most Christmas trees, it was chopped down and separated from its roots. That could be Rome's version of the classic Christmas carol, which speaks instead of branches that are lovely and steadfast.

Almost 50,000 euros (59,000 USD) was spent to transport the already sickly tree to Rome from a forest near the Austrian border some 700 km (434.96 miles) away.

The city paid $81,000 to transport it from the Trentino region of Italy.

Many have pointed a finger at the administration of Mayor Virginia Raggi, who has been getting only negative seasons greetings about the state of the city. "It is clearly dead and it represents a shameful spectacle for citizens and tourists", said the consumers' group Codacons.

One Roman resident suggested it looked like a de-plumed chicken. "They should swap them", said Francois Mallet, a tourist from France.

Tourists take pictures near the controversial Christmas tree.

Il Messaggero declared it a national embarrassment, saying: "In Russia, they've dubbed our dying tree a "toilet brush".

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