Friday, January 18, 2008

Even Rome can benefit from a touch of whimsy

Normally, this is what tourists see in Rome when they visit the Spanish Steps:


Stunt leaves famed Spanish Steps filled with thousands of multicolored balls

Stunt leaves famed Spanish Steps filled with thousands of multicolored balls

Cleaners remove colored balls from the Spanish Steps in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008.

By Associated Press

ROME (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of brightly colored balls went cascading down Rome's famed Spanish Steps on Wednesday in the latest stunt orchestrated by the man who dyed the waters of the Trevi Fountain red.

TV cameras caught organizer Graziano Cecchini and several others emptying bags full of red, green, yellow and blue balls down the 18th-century steps.

The balls bounced down the steps, filling the boat-shaped Barcaccia fountain in the piazza below in a spectacle that stunned passers-by, who snapped photos and scooped up the balls as souvenirs.

Officials were forced to briefly cordon off the popular tourist spot. Police detained Cecchini and three others, Italian news reports said.

Cecchini, interviewed at the scene, told Italian TV newscast TG5 that he uses "art - if we want to call it art - to stress our malaise."

He said half a million balls were deployed.

Street cleaners later shoveled the balls into garbage trucks and hosed down the stairs to remove strays.

Following his Trevi Fountain stunt in October, Cecchini was placed under investigation for possible damage to historical or artistic buildings.

I loved this! Instead of a prank or a protest or someone trying to make a political statement - this guy just wanted to make some people happy for a minute. Well, sort of. But really - I don't care what the point was. I'm sure the people who had to clean it all up weren't happy, but I would have loved to see the colorful balls bouncing merrily down the steps. What fun! And nobody was hurt!


  1. This is excellent. I only wish I had been there with my kids. They would have thought it to be the best thing ever.

    I do feel for the cleaner-uppers though. I have a little inflatable ball pit in my basement with maybe three or four hundred balls, and it totally sucks to pick them up. So half a million? Yikes!

  2. You made my day! This post made me smile. The contrast between the bright balls and all that old architecture was priceless!Sometimes, it's good not to take things too seriously.

  3. That would have been a sight to see for sure...

    It's fun that some people have the strangest ideas and actually put them into practice!

  4. Fabulous , the pictures are great .... this made me smile ....

  5. We saw this story on the news... and it just made me smile :)

    I smiled all over again, seeing the pictures you posted. Great pics, btw... the story I saw just didn't do it justice like your post did.

    I agree, what a great way to make a statement. Fairly harmless, unless you're the poor chap who has to pick them up, agreed.

  6. oh wow we have an advert for something - not good as I can only remember the balls rolling down a hill butmy dh always says its digital now I can say nope someone in Rome actually did it rofl!!!

  7. i always said that if i were rich and lived in a mansion, i would have one whole room as a dedicated ball pit with soft foam walls. wouldn't that be so fun? i'll still do it if i have the cash. :-P

  8. How funny, I wonder who got to clean up the mess?
    Great Blog you have here!
    Sandra Evertson

  9. Love the pictures! Especially of the balls coming down the stairs.