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left: (MILAN) Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images right: (ROME) Eun Sun Bae/Instagram

Italian regional identity is a pretty contentious topic at the moment - just look at the electoral success of seditious party Lega Nord, which wants to split the country in two.

Certain Italian cities are actually staunch rivals, a throwback from the days of great Italian city states. They're used to being apart. They're used to competing and they hate to be outdone.

Put simply, a unified Italy is younger than Australia. Romans hate to be outdone by Milanese and vice versa.

With that in mind, imagine how Romans responded when images of each of the city's Christmas trees were shared online, side-by-side.

The disparity... Was obvious.

Take a look at exhibit A) Milan's tree in the Piazza del Duomo.

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And now have a look at exhibit B) The tree in Piazza Venezia, Rome.

How embarrassing.

To add insult to injury, here's Florence's tree, in their own Piazza del Duomo.

One could argue that it's fitting that Milan's tree is baroque and glitzy, while Rome's is classical and stoic.

Rome's new mayor Virginia Raggi has been watching the city's coffers when it comes to public speending. She was also the one who announced her opposition to the country's Olympics bid.

Raggi said in September:

We are effectively asking the people of Rome and of Italy to shoulder the debts. We just don’t support it.

The mayor, a member of the Five-Star anti-establishment movement in Italy led by a former clown, has been criticised by her citizens for putting up such a bauble-less sham of a Christmas tree.

Unable to deal with the ridicule, it seems the Romans have 'spruced' it up a little with some new lights and a star (surely five would have been more appropriate).

It does look a lot better now.

Speaking on Wednesday, mayor Raggi ordered:

Romans want a more beautiful Christmas tree at Piazza Venezia, and they'll get one... I've asked for more decorations and lights to be added, within moderation.

Despite this, a satirical video comparing it to other (better) trees in Italy has surfaced online.

HT the Local

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