Tenth homeless person dies during Rome’s cold snap

A tenth person was found dead on the streets of Rome this week as the capital struggles to protect the homeless from a harsh winter.

Tenth homeless person dies during Rome's cold snap
Around 8,000 are believed to be homeless in Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

For language learners: we've highlighted some useful vocabulary in this news story. You'll find the Italian translations at the bottom of the article.

The man's body was discovered on a bench in Piazza Manzini, a well-heeled residential neighbourhood to the north of the city centre. A passerby raised the alarm on Wednesday morning after noticing that he wasn't moving.

An autopsy will be performed to establish the cause of death, which early reports suggest was hypothermia.

The man, said to be in his 50s, is the tenth person to die on the streets on Rome in just over two months as the capital endures a cold snap

With temperatures regularly falling below freezing at night, the city council says it is developing an action plan that would oblige rough sleepers to accept shelter in its facilities in the case of dangerous cold. Currently those on the streets have the right to refuse to be taken into temporary accommodation, even if it puts their lives at risk.

An estimated 8,000 people are homeless in Rome, according to Repubblica, of whom only 4,000 to 5,000 are in shelters provided by the council or charities.

At least one of those found dead this winter was killed by a fire he had lit in an attempt to stay warm. His body was discovered by the River Tiber among the charred remains of a makeshift shelter and a brazier.

While most of the victims were casualties of the cold, one man was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Known in the neighbourhood as Nereo, the man was a regular in the area and several residents left tributes to him at the scene of his death on Corso d'Italia near the Borghese Gardens.


bench – una panchina

passerby – un passante


cold snapuna ondata di freddo

rough sleepersle persone senzatetto, i senzatetto

shelteril rifugio

currently – attualmente, al momento

homeless senza casa, senza fissa dimora

makeshift di fortuna

hit-and-run driverun'auto pirata

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