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‘Intolerable spectacle’: Rome council takes months to remove fallen tree

Rome’s city council has finally removed a fallen tree from a residential street near the city centre, weeks after it first fell.

'Intolerable spectacle': Rome council takes months to remove fallen tree
Screenshot from Il Messaggero video interview with Rome resident Dacia Maraini

The tree, which stood on the corner of Via Beccaria and Via Vico near Piazza del Popolo, was toppled during a storm two months ago and lay there until yesterday morning.

Writer and local resident Dacia Maraini said she made numerous telephone calls and emails to the city council and to its Department of Environmental Protection, but did not receive a response.

It was not until the Rome-focused daily newspaper Il Messaggero published her complaint on Monday that action was taken.

Maraini told Il Messaggero that the tree was surreptitiously removed during the night on Monday, and she woke to find the street cleared.

Maraini’s neighbours were thrilled at the result and congratulated her on her efforts.

READ ALSO: Rome residents paint potholes to alert cyclists and shame authorities after woman's death

“Everyone I ran into said thank goodness you did that, thank you, thank you,” she said.

But Maraini herself was less happy.

“Of course I am very pleased that they have cleared the pavement, but it is sad to think that you have to publicly denounce them in a newspaper in order to get something that should be part of the normal service in this city,” Maraini told the paper.

“Many passersby had begun throwing their trash in the tree – there were plastic bags, cigarettes, paper packing, old sandwiches,” she said.

“A pile of waste like that attracts mice, cockroaches, dirty animals.”

Maraini said she has not been contacted by the municipality.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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