Baywatch lifesavers, Mars and crocodiles – Romans resort to black humour over city’s gaping potholes

Driving in Rome has been likened to the Dakar Rally after an unusual snow storm and weeks of rain turned the city into a slalom course of perilous potholes and gaping puddles. 

Romans have responded to the crisis in characteristic fashion – with black humour and weary resignation. 

Roads in the capital are, at the best of times, pitted and uneven, but heavy snowfall last month – the first for six years – and weeks of torrential rain have made existing potholes even worse.

“Some roads now bring to mind the Dakar Rally,” remarked Il Messagero, Rome’s daily newspaper.

Social media is replete with doctored images poking fun at the crisis, with one showing a crocodile emerging from a pothole and another depicting a Baywatch lifesaver in a red swimsuit running to the rescue of a person floundering in a deep puddle.

In another image that has gone viral, images of the cratered surfaces of Mars and the Moon are juxtaposed with a photo of a potholed road in the capital.

Last week a car was almost swallowed whole when a chasm suddenly opened up beneath its parking space. Nobody was inside the vehicle.

Residents’ groups have taken to highlighting the issue by filling holes with soil and planting spring flowers such as primroses and pansies.

“We’ve bought 150kg of soil and 40 plants and we’re going to put them in potholes on the outskirts of Rome,” activist Luca Di Egidio said.

Virginia Raggi, the Five Star Movement mayor of Rome, whose time in office has been dogged by accusations of incompetence and inaction, is once again under fire for not tackling the issue.

One image doing the rounds on Twitter shows her up to her nose in a flooded pothole, with the caption: “It’s OK, I can still touch the bottom.”

The few council workers attending to the issue simply tip asphalt into the holes, even if they are full of water, in a stop-gap measure that lasts just a few days.

Another humorous image – of a man wallowing in a pothole – pokes fun at Rome's situation.Credit:

For all the levity on social media, the holes make driving dangerous, bursting car tyres and bending axles.

For people on scooters and motorbikes, the conditions are even more risky.

The roads are so ravaged with potholes and puddles that drivers have to carefully steer around them.

One car sticker reads: “I’m not drunk, I’m just trying to avoid the holes.”

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *