Rome’s mayor defies mobster threats

The mayor of Rome on Sunday said he refused to be intimidated by threats from the criminal underworld and defied calls for him to resign over a scandal which has rocked the Italian capital.

Rome's mayor defies mobster threats
Ignazio Marino had been advised by Rome's prefect not to use his bicycle any more because of threats from "dangerous organizations". Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Ignazio Marino had been advised by Rome's prefect not to use his bicycle any more because of threats from "dangerous organizations" which emerged this week after an anti-mafia sweep revealed a web of dirty deals between political figures and a notorious mobster.

"I have received many words of encouragement as I go about on my bike, people shouting 'hang in there, we're with you!'," he told journalists after arriving at a convention by bicycle, rejecting the offer of a police escort.

"I think it is correct to show normality in a city which is not mafia-ridden but has suffered violent slaps from criminals," he said according to Italian media reports, adding that he would not be told what to do.

"The prefect is not my dad," he joked.

Police arrested 37 people on Tuesday and named 100 people — including Marino's predecessor Gianni Alemanno — as being under investigation in a probe into a criminal network which fed on corruption, extortion and fraud.

Marino had dealings in the past with one of the organizations linked to one-eyed gangster Massimo Carminati, a former member of the infamous Magliana crime gang, which wielded enormous influence in Rome in the 1970s and 1980s.

Though he insists he had no knowledge of its criminal activities, and wiretaps showed failed attempts to corrupt him, some critics calling for a vast clean-up in the capital have said Marino should go.

"Do you really think I have engineered a year and a half of radical changes (in Rome) to then say, 'just joking, I'm off to the beach'? Forget it," he told journalists.

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Rome’s public transport fares set to rise this summer

The cost of Rome’s bus, metro and tram tickets was expected to increase this summer under a new pricing plan, according to Italian media reports.

Rome’s public transport fares set to rise this summer

The cost of a ticket will go from €1.50 to €2 as of July 1st when new pricing is set to come in for Rome’s public transport system, according to local newspaper RomaToday.

The published plan for the new ticket prices was drafted by Lazio regional coach company Cotral, a partner in the capital’s Metrebus service along with Trenitalia and Rome transport provider ATAC.

While the 100-minute ticket will see a 50-cent increase to €2, the price of daily tickets will go up from €7 to €9.30. 

The two-day ticket would jump from €12.50 to €16.70 and the 72-hour ticket goes from €18 to €24.

Weekly tickets rise by €8 to €32. Monthly passes remain unchanged at the usual €35 fee.

The cost of a yearly pass meanwhile drops by €10 to €240.

Talk of raising Rome’s public transport prices has been ongoing for years; the last time bus and metro tickets were increased was in 2012, from €1 to €1.50.

The latest announcement came exactly one year after ATAC announced Rome transport fees would not be raised as planned following an intervention by Lazio regional authorities.

But the price increase was expected to go ahead this year, with Rome currently preparing its public transport network for increased visitor numbers ahead of the Vatican’s 2025 Jubilee.