It’s back! Spelacchio, Rome’s world-famous Christmas tree, arrived in Piazza Venezia early on Monday after traveling overnight from Varese, in the northern region of Lombardy, on board a truck decorated for the occasion with a Christmas theme.
The fir tree is 23 meters high and weighs 12 tons. It’s been set up in its usual location, central Piazza Venezia, where it will be prepared and decorated for the Christmas holidays.
A team is at work to restore the natural shape of the tree. The plant in fact had been wrapped in a mesh in order to protect the most delicate branches during the journey from northern Italy. Some of the bulkier branches have been sectioned using a specific technique in order to guarantee a safe transport of the tree while maintaining its original features.
Decoration promises to be spectacular with 80,000 LED lights and 1,000 more ornaments including balls and silver crystals.
Spelacchio will be lighted up on December 8 during an inaugural ceremony which promises to draw a crowd of residents and tourists alike.
The Christmas tree of Rome was renamed ‘Spelacchio’ in 2017, when the fir tree brought to the capital that year was heavily criticized for being too bare and humble and taken to symbolize the Italian capital's state of decline and blight (‘Spelacchio’ comes from the word ‘spelacchiato’, which means mangy). The year after, 2018, Rome’s fir tree was baptized Spelacchio #2 and even Spezzacchio because it looked as if its branches had been broken (in reality it was due to the same technique mentioned above).
Spelacchio's return to the capital was announced a few days ago by Rome’s mayor Virginia Raggi in a tweet, “Spelacchio sta tornando!!!” (Spelacchio is coming back).
Spelacchio even has its own (hilarious) Twitter account, which you can follow here (in Italian).