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Rome’s sickly $57,000 Christmas tree is being referred to as a ‘toilet brush’ by  locals

Rome's sickly official Christmas tree is dropping needles and earning nicknames ranging from "toilet brush" to "baldy." 

The 70-foot-high tree cost 48,000 euros, or $57,000, to transport from an Italian Alpine region to Rome, where it has been steadily losing needles since being lit on Dec. 8, according to the Associated Press. 

Rome's official Christmas tree stands in front of the Unknown Soldier monument in Piazza Venezia Square. Despite the tree's 600 silver-colored decorative balls, the half-bare branches lend the square a forlorn rather than festive look and critics note that across town, the Vatican's Christmas tree, from Poland, looks healthy.

Locals, who are outraged at the cost of the sickly tree, have dubbed the behemoth "spelacchio," which roughly translates to mangy or balding.     

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On social media, the tree has it's own "spelacchio" account, and many have used #spelacchio to compare the tree to healthy Christmas trees in other cities and slam the city's unpopular mayor, Virginia Raggi.      

   

The city is investigating why the tree is doing so poorly, according to the Associated Press.

 

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