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Overflowing rubbish bins and rampant rat problem make Rome the world’s dirtiest city

Bookings are dropping as reputation of Eternal City is trashed online, says hotel industry chief

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Tourists standing next to rubbish on the street near Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Photo: Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola / Getty Images

Tourists standing next to rubbish on the street near Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Photo: Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola / Getty Images

Tourists standing next to rubbish on the street near Rome’s Trevi Fountain. Photo: Raquel Maria Carbonell Pagola / Getty Images

It is one of the greatest cities in the world. And now Rome is also officially one of the dirtiest.

The Italian capital’s overflowing rubbish bins, unbridled rat population and acrid stench have finally earned it the top spot in a list of world’s dirtiest cities.

A poll by Time Out magazine of 27,000 city dwellers from across the globe listed Rome as the number one filthiest city, followed closely behind by New York and Glasgow. Rome’s decades-old waste management problem has seen a stark deterioration in recent times.

Where there once were occasional piles of rubbish, pungent plastic bags now line whole swathes of the Unesco world heritage site, forcing sandal-clad tourists to watch where they’re going. Scorching temperatures and the unwelcome presence of thousands of wild hogs have exacerbated the situation further, causing anger among locals.

Rome’s hotel federation Federalberghi on Sunday warned that they had already experienced a 20pc to 30pc drop in hotel reservations because of the city’s decline.

“Our institutions don’t realise how much it hurts our reputation when a photo is posted on social media of the streets of Rome with abandoned bins or wild boars,” Federalberghi vice president Roberto Necci told Il Messaggero newspaper.

“Not only are many cancelling room reservations, but the flow of new bookings is slowing down day by day.”

After promising a swift clean-up of Rome during his campaign last year, Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri has been heavily criticised for driving the city into the ground, with some district governors calling for the military to intervene.

“This emergency requires an immediate leap in the quality of the response, it’s affecting the health and dignity of our communities, which are being subjected to this dramatic situation,” said Amedeo Chiaccheri, the head of district eight.

“Extraordinary measures should be put in place, including the army, to restore normality to this weakened city.”

Mr Gualtieri on Monday told local media that Rome residents could expect to see improvements by next week but warned that it could take up to two years for the city to recover fully.

Up to 10 million visit the Italian capital each year, the second most visited city after Paris in the EU. Among those enjoying Rome in recent days has been film star Russell Crowe who has been tweeting about his visit to the city.

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