Rome may be at the heart of events marking the 60th anniversary of the EU’s founding treaty, but it is here that euroscepticism is growing.
One district of Rome, around the new hi-speed train station, Tiburtina, has fallen from glory. People here feel impoverished – and threatened by uncontrolled immigration. Most blame it on Europe.
“The situation has become worse instead of improving. With the opening of the borders, everything has arrived here in Italy, and everything has happened without any control,” one woman told Euronews.
“We need better regulation across Europe, and more friendship and solidarity among all (EU countries) and not to divide (isolate) Italy from the rest (of Europe)”
After the construction of the new train station, the area had been expected to thrive.
Some think Italy needs to do more to seize EU opportunities.
One woman commented: “Let’s think about public-tenders for EU funds. Italy wins very few, or we don’t even compete to get them. We could get a lot of funds, and we could do a lot of things with them, but here nothing happens.”
The district is multi-cultural. Many immigrants came in the 1990s, when life looked better.
One Pakistani coffee bar owner looks back at times before the single currency.
“In my opinion it was better when we had still the lira. It got worse since we adopted the euro because not many countries were ready,” said Mr Azim.
“Now people go to the café and ask for a cappuccino, another day a croissant, but not a cappuccino and croissant together.”
The 2008 economic crisis has left a lasting scar in Italy – leaving many with little hope for the future, a future they fear could be even worse.