After a 72-foot tall Christmas tree was put up in Rome’s Piazza Venezia, it was clear that something was up with the tree. It’s a skeletal choice, with it’s needles falling off, and the Italians could not stop making fun of it.
The New York Times reports that the tree was nicknamed “Spelacchio” by the Italian public, which means mangy, and some people said it looked like a toilet brush. One consumer rights group demanded the tree be removed because it was a “shameful spectacle for citizens and tourists.”
The joke quickly turned into a full-on political controversy, with a spokesperson for Mayor Virginia Raggi of Rome saying that she was looking into whose fault the tree debacle was. Citizens were also mad that the the tree and its transportation cost roughly $57,000. One columnist even wrote an editorial from the perspective of the tree for the newspaper La Stampa.
What the hell happened between the selection of the tree and bringing it to Rome is unclear. The actual tree itself was donated by a collective, coming from the Trentino region of Italy, and the director of the collective tells the newspaper, “we’ve sent many trees to Rome, and we’ve never had problems before.”
And, honestly, you don’t have a problem with this tree now. In the words of Linus van Pelt, maybe it just needs a little love!