American expats in Rome hear the same question all the time from fellow Americans visiting the Eternal City: “Rome is SOOO beautiful! But why is there so much trash and graffiti around? Don’t the Romans care about their amazing city?”
Well, the answer is complicated and I admit that it’s hard for me to understand, too. But today on my podcast I have invited someone who can help explain this frustrating problem to us—sort of. More importantly, she’s part of a group that is taking aggressive action against it.
Virginia Vitalone is the spokesperson for a grassroots organization called Retake Roma. As the name implies, this group’s mission is to take back their city from the graffiti and vandalism that leaves an ugly scar on one of the most beautiful historical centers in the entire world.
I’ve been following the Retake Roma Facebook Page for a while, and what they are accomplishing is impressive, to say the least. Not just the projects themselves, which have transformed entire neighborhoods, but also the example that they are setting for the younger generations of Romans.
More impressive still is that they’re doing all of this work with very little help from the government. Members often pull money out of their own pockets to buy the supplies needed to clean up a piazza or monument.
This group also provides a great opportunity for expats—or even tourists—to get involved in the local community and really show their love for Rome. Yes, they accept daily volunteers, so you could make it part of your vacation plans. Think about it; you would get a full Italian experience and be able to practice your Italian with the locals. This would do more to help you understand Italian culture (for better and worse) on a deeper level, way more than a visit to any museum.
Rome is not only for Romans. Rome’s history is the history of Western Civilization and it belongs to all of us. Please help get the word out.
I don’t often “beg” for people to share my blog posts, but this time I’m making an exception for a worthy project….pleeeeeeeese spread the word about this important initiative. If you’re an expat in Italy, then Rome is part of your home too. And if you’re a visitor, then Rome will be that much more beautiful when you return for your next vacation.
And if you don’t have the time to participate directly, they also accept monetary donations on their website. Please consider contributing to their cause.
I would like to give a big “GRAZIE” once again to Virginia for giving me the privilege of sharing this vital message. Please visit Retake Roma on the Internet and help spread the news of what their group is doing to improve the aesthetic value of this beautiful city.
Their Website: RetakeRoma
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.