Beach With No Water’ Draws Sneers in Rome 市長設「無水海灘」羅馬人罵翻
The riverfront beach was supposed to be a summertime gift from the beleaguered mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, to her citizens. Called “Tiberis,” an ancient name for Rome’s main waterway, the municipal beach had been promoted as Rome’s answer to Seine-side installations in Paris.
But when it finally opened this month, after doubts about whether it would open at all given that the season was nearly over, the area — a cluster of beach chairs and sun umbrellas, two beach volleyball courts and vending machines — was dismissed by some Romans (who perhaps hadn’t even visited the beach) as too little, too late.
Rather than a symbol of the progressive governance of Raggi’s party, the Five Star Movement, Tiberis has become yet another lightning rod for Romans to vent their dissatisfaction with the mayor, who is entering the third tempestuous year of a five-year term.
Taking to social media, some cracked jokes that the basic beach, in a populous Rome suburb, was best suited for the Tiber’s most assiduous habitués: its rats. Others complained that unlike in other European capitals like Berlin and Copenhagen, whose urban lidos include pools or other areas suitable for swimming, sweaty sunbathers at Tiberis could opt only for showers in plastic cubicles.
“A lot of untreated sewage is still dumped into the Tiber, so it is very polluted,” said Giorgio Zampetti, the director general of the Italian environmental association Legambiente. “It’s a shame, and an issue we’ve raised often.” But cleaning up the river would be an immense and expensive undertaking for the city.
“A beach with no water is kind of ridiculous,” said Tom Rankin, the former director of Tevereterno, a nonprofit that promotes artistic projects for the Tiber, including a 2016 mural along an embankment by South African artist William Kentridge. Although Rankin praised the effort of getting citizens to the Tiber’s edge, he said City Hall could have given “more thought to the initiative to come up with something better.”
Other Romans said that the city had missed an important opportunity to re-establish a substantial connection to the Tiber, once central to the Italian capital’s identity but today mostly neglected and overlooked.
“The operation was badly done,” said Giuseppe Maria Amendola, the president of the Consorzio Tiberina, an association that aims to promote the Tiber. As designed, the spartan beach could have been plunked down anywhere, even in a parking lot, because “it gives nothing to the Tiber,” he said.
“This is not the way the city should be thinking about revamping the river,” he added.