Poor Rome has had nothing but issues with their Christmas tree the past few years. Critics have called it the “ugliest Christmas tree in the world”.
Citizens of Rome are now famous for being embarrassed of their tree. Their reactions to the tree in 2016 — and in every year since — has made world-wide headlines.
What they saw, with a mix of dismay and amusement, was a strangely-shaped fir tree with a number of its longest branches missing in the middle.
Rome’s Christmas tree last year, dubbed “Spelacchio” — which translates to “mangy,” due to its threadbare appearance — became a source of public teasing for the city’s mayor and council in national and international media.
Last year’s tree did not look like much of an improvement, and was immediately dubbed “Spelacchio #2.”
Over a thousand people lambasted the tree on social media, where it was labelled “sad”, “disgraceful” and “disgusting”.
A video circulated on Facebook compared the threadbare fir to its glitzier counterparts in Italy’s other cities, from a Pandora-sponsored effort in Milan bearing 50,000 lights to a towering golden specimen in Sorrento.
A comment on the city’s Facebook post read “It reflects the situation of the whole city. Full of holes and covered in rubbish. Would you want an amazing tree for a city in disrepair?”
How is that possible in Rome, being so close to the Vatican and all?
It is a city where the images of Christmas and the Nativity have ruled for centuries. How hard can it be to put up a decent Christmas tree?
And who “sponsors” a Christmas tree anyway?
Companies have until 4 September to submit their offer of sponsorship.