ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: ROME - Ignazio Marino - "the Martian," Romans are fed up with mayor, Philadelphia News, USA (26|12|2014).

ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: ROME – Ignazio Marino – “the Martian,” Romans are fed up with mayor, Philadelphia News, USA (26|12|2014).

ROME – Pigs root through garbage piling up in a working-class neighborhood. City buses improvise routes on streets clogged with triple-parked cars. On rainy days, muck-choked sewers make crossing the road a Herculean labor.

Ignazio Marino promised to bring order to Rome’s chaos when he was elected mayor in a landslide last year. Instead, critics say the liver transplant surgeon is the affliction not the cure – and are pressuring him to resign.

Marino, who once lived in Philadelphia’s Society Hill section and practiced at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, set out to tame Rome’s notorious traffic gridlock upon winning office. His first major move? Banning cars on the boulevard flanking the Roman Forum so tourists have a more pleasant stroll, strangling Rome’s center even more. The ban enraged residents and shopkeepers, whose streets became bottlenecks of detoured traffic.

Then Marino hiked parking meter fees, an unpopular move among Romans who have abandoned the capital’s strike-prone mass transit system in droves. But what has really poisoned the Roman mood is that after enforcing his big idea on parking fees, Marino was himself repeatedly caught in traffic violations with his bright red Fiat Panda – and allowed fines to pile up unpaid.

Ordinary Romans can drive into the historic center only with an annual permit that costs hundreds of euros. Marino this summer drove his Fiat into the heart of Rome after his own permit had expired. Tickets, eight of them, accumulated – as Marino blamed careless aides for failing to renew the permit. Anger only increased when a national TV program caught the Panda parked in a no-parking zone near the Senate.

Even members of Marino’s own Democratic Party have begun to give him the thumbs-down, worried that he could damage Premier Matteo Renzi, who heads the party.

“Resign, resign!” Romans hooted recently when Marino stepped into Julius Caesar Hall atop the ancient Capitoline Hill for a city council hearing about the Panda debacle.

“Buffoon! Buffoon!” they heckled, some protesters wearing bright red clown noses.

“He doesn’t really smell the mood of the city,” said Franco Pavoncello, a political science professor who is president of John Cabot University in Rome. That may be an understatement; some commentators have nicknamed Marino “the Martian.”


— Philadelphia News, USA (26|12|2014).