>> Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Italians turning up their nose.>>
> Even the city's most famous resident, the Pope, has decried the tree.
It's forced the Mayor to put up a defense, saying Spelacchio's been decorated in a, quote, simple and refined manner. To understand this Christmas uproar, it's worth mentioning that Rome's fallen into a state of decline in recent years. Pot holes, piles of garbage, and public parks that have been effectively abandoned to the point where weeds can grow as tall as a man.
So some are seeing this tree as a symbol of the Eternal City's eternal decay. And critics of Mayor Virginia Raji, and here anti-establishment 5-star movement accuse her office of squandering public funds. The city put up about $60,000 to transport the tree from a forest hundreds of miles away.