What is Spelacchio, and what has it got to do with Christmas in Rome?

Have you heard the word Spelacchio? Did it has to do with Christmas and Rome and a Christmas tree located at Piazza Venezia? Well, that might be right. But, what is really Spealacchio? Why has it got its very own Twitter account with more than 8000 followers?

So, the story behind Spelacchio is really the story behind the very special Christmas tree that came to Rome in 2017. The local government paid more than 55,000 USD for the tree. One would expect such an expensive Christmas tree to look nice, but instead, it looked terrible. People called it Spelacchio, an Italian word that means “balding” and “mangy“.

So, in the word balding we understand that it is losing its hair, or maybe its fur. The word mangy comes from the word mange, which according to dictionary.com has to do with “any of various skin diseases caused by parasitic mites, affecting animals and sometimes humans and characterized by loss of hair and scabby eruptions.”

As a result, we have a Christmas tree that has been compared to a man losing his hair, or to a person suffering from a skin disease making him lose his hair and get scabby eruptions. Can you imagine what the Christmas tree might have been like?

So, what did the Christmas tree actually look like?

The famous Spelacchio tree from 2017, looked something like this.

The Christmas tree at Piazza Venezia in Rome in 2017 (Spelacchio)
The Christmas tree at Piazza Venezia in Rome in 2017 (Spelacchio)

As you can see from the picture, this isn’t the nicest Christmas tree the world has ever seen. But, because of all the fuzz, it might actually be one of the world’s most famous Christmas trees at the moment.

The tree has gotten a lot of tweets about it, and many people say it looks like a tree your neighbor threw out a couple of weeks ago because it was so ugly. Well, most people tend to agree about it!

Spelacchio or Spezzacchio in Rome

The local government couldn’t explain what had happened to the Christmas tree in 2017, but they said that they would investigate the case.

What happened to Spelacchio in 2018?

One would believe that they wouldn’t make a mistake in 2018 as well. But, that isn’t entirely true. In 2018, they managed to call the tree Spezzacchio, due to the tree being “broken” or “split.” This was due to a special technique they used to make the tree stand like they wanted to. But, in the end, the Christmas tree at Piazza Venezia looked normal in 2018, just like you can see at the image beneath.

The Piazza Venezia Christmas tree in 2018 – Source: Twitter

So, this is the background and the story behind the Spezzacchio and the Spelacchio in Rome.


We hope you have learned something reading this article. If you want to know more about Rome, about celebrating Christmas in Rome or maybe about the Christmas markets in Rome, look around here in our Rome Guide.

Would you like to have a driver waiting for you at the airport upon arrival in Rome? Check our site where you can book private airport transfers in Rome!

Have a nice day and we wish you a pleasant stay in Rome!

Is Rome a dirty city?

Have you heard rumors about Rome being a dirty city? Are you just curious before arrival in order to set your expectations right? So, what is the truth? Is Rome a dirty city giving you streets packed with litter, or will this be a city to remember, not only because of its history and amazing buildings but also because of its clean streets?

If you do a quick search on Google or in Bing (or use Ecosia to plant some trees while surfing) to find out whether or not Rome is a dirty city, you will find all sorts of answers. But, to be honest, the majority of search results will conclude with the fact that Rome is a dirty city. How come? It is pure logic. How many people search the Internet for information about whether or not Rome is a clean city? Not many! So, when they search for information related to whether it is a dirty city or not, they will find search results from articles and forum posts in which they focus on the fact that Rome is a dirty city. So, there is a negative curve, showing negative results, based on a negative search inquiry. But, if so many people have written and complained about graffiti everywhere, dog poop on the street, and litter here and there… hasn’t there got to be some truth to it?

Is Rome really a dirty city?
A picture of Rome – including waste and graffiti

What is the truth about Rome?

When you speak with people who have been to Rome, you will often hear two widely different opinions. One will say that it was beautiful from start till end, while the other person found it to be amazing, just awful because of the waste, dog-poop, and cigarette waste. It is hard to find the truth in this, but there are some realities you better be aware of before your arrival in Rome.

There is a lot of graffiti in Rome

Many people will leave Rome without really thinking about this. But, if you first open your eyes looking for graffiti, you will for sure find it. You can see it on the metro stations and on the metro wagons, on buildings, on doors, and mostly everywhere. Of course, the old historical buildings are protected from this, but the buildings that nobody really cares about, they are often suffering.

A graffiti metro in Rome
Source: Shutterstock

What is the conclusion then? If you look for it, you will for sure find it. And if you let it disturb you, it can mostly take the joy away from your day. There is little that you can do about this, so the best thing you do is simply to forget about it. Truth be told, most tourists don’t even notice the graffiti… they are to busy taking pictures and having a good time. It isn’t your fault if you notice details and graffiti, but you are better off if you forget about it.

The buildings of Rome

The beautiful buildings of Rome remain beautiful and intact. They are not disturbed by graffiti, but they can suffer from pollution coming from a big number of cars. The city has a population of around 2,8 million people, and there are hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the city every single day. Just considering the fact that all of these are in need of traveling from the airport to their hotel (and back), from the train station to their hotel, or the fact that they all arrive with a car in some way makes up a big amount of traffic.

However, there is constant work taking place to keep the buildings nice. So, you will once again see a combination of polluted (black) buildings with newly renovated buildings shining in their former glory.

Litter on the streets (dog-poop, cigarettes)

Maybe it doesn’t disturb you much if there is graffiti on a wall. But, if you keep getting dog-poop under your shoe, that can be very annoying. If you don’t notice, you might think Rome smells bad, only to discover later that your shoe was to blame.

As you walk the main streets of Rome, the tourist area, you do not normally bump into lots of dog-poop. But, if you start walking in areas mostly used by the local population and those walking their dogs along the river, you might have to look more downwards than upwards.

The same can be said when it comes to litter. During larger events, a lot of litter is thrown to the streets of Rome, but the city center is quite quickly cleaned up, making it look nice for the locals and for the tourists visiting the city. You might return home being incredibly happy about the look of the city, but if you are unlucky, you might visit Rome on a day when the garbage cans are full, and the litter is floating on the street next to the garbage cans.

Rome is beautiful, but is it dirty?

So, is Rome a dirty city or not?

Many people say that women see a black spot on a white wall, while the men see a white wall with a black spot on it (if they see the spot at all). Well, when it comes to Rome, the best is to be like a man and see the beauties, and not always those dirty details. If you are lucky, they might not even be there, but they do exist, and many people do notice them.

Rome is a fairly dirty city, but at the same time, it isn’t worse than other cities you will visit around in Europe. We have recently written a similar article about Prague, so if you want to know more about whether or not Prague is a dirty city, click the link!

Have you been to Rome yourself? Did you find Rome to be a dirty city or a clean city? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Traveling with train from Rome to Bologna

Have you already gotten your plane ticket to Rome in order, but you are looking for more places to visit outside Rome? Maybe you have read our article on how to travel from Rome to Firenze already, and now you consider visiting another city, for example, Bologna. But, how can you travel by train from Rome to Bologna? How much time will it take? What is the price of the different train tickets?

If you want to travel from Rome to Bologna with train, there are a couple of things worth knowing. The main train station in Rome is the Termini station, and you should plan on leaving Rome from this station to make things as efficient as possible. As you arrive to Bologna, make sure to arrive to Bologna Centrale, a central station in Bologna from which you can easily invade the city!

Visit Piazza Maggiore in Bologna on a day-trip from Rome
Visit Piazza Maggiore in Bologna on a day-trip from Rome

The normal travel time between the two cities are around 2 hours if you use the fast trains. That isn’t very much, making it easy to do a day trip to Bologna from Roma, and return back in the evening.

How much does the train ticket cost between Rome and Bologna?

It is quite amazing that the train time is only two hours, considering that it covers a distance of almost 400km. So, if you would do the same distance by car, it would take much more time. And that is also why the tickets can be quite expensive, at least if you buy only a few days before the actual travel.

For example, if I would buy a train ticket that connects Rome with Bologna right now, the price would be 60 Euro (for a ticket in one of the upcoming days). But, if I plan ahead and buy the ticket a couple of weeks in advance or more, I can easily find tickets costing only 30 Euro or less. So, if you can, prepare your travel and buy your tickets early.

Where to buy the train tickets?

If you want to buy a train ticket online for the ride between Rome and Bologna, the best place to do so is at www.trenitalia.com. This site is available in both English and Italian, making it easy to go ahead with the booking process, and also to get an overview of the different trains and the prices.

How to get from the railway station in Bologna to the city center?

The distance between the railway station in Bologna and the main square in the city (Piazza Maggiore) is 1,5km. This can be done in an easy way on foot and shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. But, if you start visiting stores along the way like Zara, you will for sure spend more time before you end up at the main square on Bologna.

Two suggested walking paths from Bologna Stazione to Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.
Two suggested walking paths from Bologna Stazione to Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.

I hope by now you will be better prepared for your day-trip from Rome to Bologna. If you have any further questions, use the comment field beneath.