Rome bike path along river Tiber sparks debate

A sarcastic post by Rome mayoral candidate goes viral, but the city says the project is a work in progress.

A new tarmacadam bicycle track along Rome’s river Tiber has become the target of much derision since it was highlighted by a prominent candidate in the race to become the city’s next mayor.

Carlo Calenda, leader of the liberal political party Azione, took to Twitter with a photo of the bike path in a sarcastic post targeting Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi and her deputy councilor Pietro Calabrese.

Calendar’s tongue-in-cheek post, shared hundreds of times, portrays Calabrese as Raggi’s “court painter” who is asked by the mayor: “How can we further disfigure this ungrateful city?”

The court painter replies to say: “We have done everything possible to punish the Romans: dirt, traffic, decline,” along concerning the city dropping the Olympics, to “make the Romans understand how unworthy they are.

“When the mayor says: “That’s not enough for me!” the court painter suggests “pouring asphalt” along the Tiber.

Calendar’s post has kicked off a debate about the aesthetic quality of the works, with many Romans describing the new bike path as an “eyesore.”

However, in a post on Facebook, the city’s assembly spokesperson Daniele Diaco said the project is a work in progress, with the tarmac the “first-level” of the finished track.

“Not being able to dig (because it is an embankment), it was necessary to create a new layer to act as a base,” wrote Diaco.

Suggesting that Calenda “should keep quiet,” Rome’s infrastructure councilor Linda Meleo said: “Making judgments before works are complete is premature and misleading for the citizens, especially for the cyclists who will use it, a maintenance that has not been carried out for over 15 years.”