For the Romans, there's no other choice but the mortal (though virtual) thumbs down for their mayor.
Yes, online commentators (and no doubt offline elders around the Italian capital) are sending Mayor Virginia Raggi to the proverbial lions for mixing up the Colosseum — the one (and only) built in Rome nearly 2,000 years ago that's the first and biggest open-air amphitheater ever built — with some other, smaller ancient arena in a much smaller city almost not worth mentioning by name. But alas...
In a video presentation this week to tout the Italian capital's selection as host of the 2023 Ryder Cup golf tournament, Raggi showed a footage of what was supposed to be Rome's signature landmark… but was instead the arena of Nimes in southern France.
Italian daily La Stampa gathered some of the Romans' reactions: "Tell me it isn't true," wrote online commentator Simone N, after seeing the video. "What you see in the first three seconds is the Arena of Nîmes, which is in France. IN FRANCE. What the hell does that have to do with the city of Rome? The Colosseum is the Colosseum."
For those outside Rome, it may seem like an honest mistake, after all the French arena was built shortly after the Colosseum and is one of the best preserved ancient amphitheaters in the world. But for Romans, you might as well have substituted in the Yankee Stadium or the Wembley arena. Beyond stupido for the mayor.
"The mayor of Rome can't recognize the Colosseum?" asked one. Another added: "I could cry... a mistake that not even a kid in elementary school would make. Mixing up the symbol of Rome."
La Stampa reports that Raggi's staff has pulled the erroneous footage out, and blamed the gaffe on the Italian Golf Federation, which had included the wrong images in a video that the city of Rome borrowed for its presentation.
There was at least one defender of the error, several hundred miles to the north. Xavier Duais, deputy maire of Nîmes and responsible for tourism, tweeted a message to Raggi: "Thank you for the wonderful showcase you've given our arenas. Errare humanum est !" That's Latin for: To err is human. Sure, and to tear apart the fools is Roman.
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