Officials in Rome declared the Italian city’s $59,000 Christmas tree dead amid jokes online about its shabby appearance.
A representative for the capital city of Rome confirmed the appearance of the sickly tree, which has been mocked on social media and given the nickname “Spelacchio,” meaning “shabby” or “balding” in Italian, would not improve because, like most Christmas trees, it was chopped down and separated from its roots.
“It has no roots, but that is the practice,” a representative from Rome’s environmental department said. “It’s impossible to transport the roots and soil of a specimen this tall and imposing.”
A representative of the area in northern Italy that supplied the tree said its lack of roots didn’t contribute to its shabby appearance.
“Despite being technically dead, trees can remain luxuriant for a month and a half, two months,” the spokesman said.
Stefano Cattoi, a spokesman for the supplier said the tree was likely transported improperly.
“We do not point the finger at anyone, but something happened to that tree, it’s obvious. It’s undergone too much stress,” he said.
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi — who authorized the purchase of the tree — has launched an investigation into the tree’s poor condition.
Some planned a funeral for the tree, while others launched an unofficial Twitter account for Spelacchio to poke fun at the situation.