Spelacchio farewell party held in Rome (2)

Mangy Xmas tree to become baby-feeding hut in native north

(ANSA) - Rome, January 11 - Rome on Thursday held a farewell party for its famously mangy Christmas Tree, Spelacchio.
    After a month or so in the central Piazza venezia where its 'toilet-brush' appearance initially spurred analogies to the capital's threabare administration, the decoration will return to its native Val di Fiemme in northern Italy where it will be carved up and made into a hut for mothers to feed babies.
    "Spelacchio represents an example of creative recycling," said Rome's environment councillor, Pinuccia Montanari.
    Rome also plans to make a book out of all the wishes that have been pinned to the tree since it became a major tourist attraction, she said.
    Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said the once-derided tree, seen as a symbol of Roman woes ranging from potholed streets to poor public transport and urban blight, "has won the love and affection of most people over time" .
    Recalling the world news headlines it has generated, she said "it has become an international star, and now it will become an example of recycling and re-use".
    One block of the tree will also be handed over to an artist to be remodelled and go on permanent show, the mayor said.
    Councillor Montanari said Spelacchio will now gain fresh fame as "the symbol of a circular economy, ever more necessary for Rome's future and that of the new generations".
    First slammed for its high cost and lack of pine needles, Spelacchio gradually gathered defenders and ended its days as a 'tree of desires' on which selfie-snapping tourists posted their wishes.
    Italy's anti-corruption authority has opened a probe into its cost and the failure to rotate tree suppliers.