melio Perugini does not remember the last time he slept well. “It’s a disaster, the noise doesn’t stop,” he said. “I hardly sleep anymore. The worst is Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. “
Sleepless nights have become the norm for many in Trastevere, a neighborhood in central Rome that was once treasured for its old-world charm and feel, but now known for its bustling nightlife, petty crime, heaps of trash and walls full of graffiti.
The problems of the district are seen as emblematic of what the Romans repeatedly denounce as the problem of the Italian capital. decay (decay), and as residents prepare to vote in mayoral elections on Sunday and Monday, they wonder once again if anyone is capable of controlling the city.
Perugini has lived in Trastevere all his life. “It was poorer, but much more livable. Today it is richer, but we are ruined. “
He said he has not decided who to vote for, but that it will not be Virginia Raggi, the current mayor seeking a second term. “Definitely not Raggi, enough of Raggi.”
Raggi, a Five Star Movement politician, became Rome’s first mayor in June 2016, scoring a landslide victory after promising “winds of change.” But it didn’t take long for disappointment to set in as garbage piled up, old buses spontaneously exploded, parks became more neglected, and wild boar sightings more frequent.
Raggi has made improvements to the city over the last year, including repairing some of its roads. It has introduced bike lanes, electric bicycles and scooters, although the latter have become a further threat to the streets, as cyclists use them with abandon.
Raggi also spoke about the improvements made to schools and the opening of libraries during a demonstration in Trastevere last week. But viewers weren’t in the mood to hear such achievements, and one woman reminded him of “the streets overrun with garbage and wild boar.”
“Trastevere, like other neighborhoods in central Rome, has deteriorated for various reasons, from runaway nightlife to potholes,” said Fiorella de Simone, a member of Vivere Trastevere, a group of residents who have held protests against the decline of the area while they were in charge of cleaning the streets. “But it has gotten worse in recent years. I can’t walk out the front door in the morning without stepping on the trash. Trastevere is a reminder that there have been no solutions to the problems that affect the entire city ”.
But it remains to be seen if those problems will be fixed anytime soon.
Enrico Michetti, a far-right Italian Brothers candidate competing in a coalition backed by Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, was leading the polls before the blackout period began. Michetti, a lawyer and radio host, glorified ancient Rome during his campaign, saying that its role as “World boss”(Capital of the world) needed to be restored. He also said that the Roman stiff-armed salute, which has fascist overtones, should be revived as it was more hygienic during the Covid-19 era.
Behind him at the polls was the center-left candidate and former Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri.
Raggi came in third followed by Carlo Calenda, the leader of Azione, described as a liberal centrist party.
But since none of the four candidates are expected to get more than 50% of the vote in the first round, two, probably Michetti and Gualtieri, will go on to compete in a second round on October 17.
For his book, Rome the courage to change (Rome, the courage to change), the author Claudio Cipollini analyzed the promises made in the electoral campaigns of the last five mayors of Rome, including Raggi, and compared them with what has been achieved.
“I discovered that what they said during election campaigns did not correspond to what they actually did,” he said.
Cipollini also studied the programs of current mayoral candidates, with the findings published in a report by Monitoroma, an observatory on elections.
“The programs contained some beautiful ideas for Rome, but no one said when and how they would deliver on their promises, much less how much money they would need,” Cipollini said. “Some issues were handled better by some and poorly by others. Some candidates have long-term views of the city, others do not. “
Cipollini said that the main problem is the “inability of the public administration to manage a modern city.”
Before Raggi took over, Rome was also a city where progress had been hampered by decades of inefficiency and corruption, leaving it with € 13 billion in debt.
“Raggi has done some things in the last year, but it hasn’t solved the problem of garbage collection or public transportation, and the parks are still a mess,” Cipollini said.
“In Rome, nothing works and I think politicians must realize that politics is not enough to get things done. They need to know how to organize and manage all these difficulties and move the city forward.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism