Rome is drowning in garbage, but its mayor has a vision – a “golden age” awaits

Suspicious fires at a waste processing plant and landfill earlier this summer darkened the sky, sullied the air and sparked speculation that arsonists and organized crime were at work.

Then, when it looked as though Rome’s garbage problem couldn’t get any worse, a row over the construction of a new city incinerator was said to be the cause of the political revolt that toppled Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government in July.

That day, watching the political drama unfold from his office overlooking the Roman Forum, Rome’s mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, appeared bewildered by the role he and his city’s garbage problem had played in the government’s sudden collapse.

“Formally, I am the reason for this,” he stated.

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