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James Bond In Rome: Locals Say Dirty City Is Not Fit For Movie

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ROME — When actor Daniel Craig arrives in Rome later this month to shoot the latest James Bond movie, he is likely to be both shaken and stirred — but only by the dilapidated state of the city.

The Italian capital was chosen as one of the filming locations for "Spectre," the latest installment in the franchise featuring Britain's favorite Martini-swilling spy.

But local campaigners are worried that rather than promoting the Eternal City on the international stage, the movie will merely highlight how dirty and run-down Rome has become.

"Once again we are wasting an opportunity," blogger and campaigner Filippo Guardascione told NBC News. "We should welcome big productions with a red carpet, instead, they’ll find graffiti everywhere, homeless people sleeping under the bridge, broken bottles and a stench of urine."

In recent years Rome has found itself in the unenviable position of being ranked among Europe's dirtiest destinations, according to TripAdvisor surveys. Guardascione is among five contributors to the Basta Cartelloni blog, which is run by Romans who are disgruntled at the ramshackle state of the city.

Image: Garbage and graffiti in Rome
Garbage and graffiti in Rome, Italy.www.bastacartelloni.it

Guardascione said he and the other bloggers met with Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino in December. "He told us then that they would film James Bond here in Rome, and that it would be a great chance to revamp the city’s image internationally," Guardascione said. "And yet, when we checked the film locations recently, they were still in a state of decay."

The 24th installment in the movie franchise will see Bond parachute from a helicopter on to the 15th century Ponte Sisto, a pedestrian bridge that connects the popular Campo De' Fiori square and the Trastevere area. He will then chase the inevitable villains along Rome's river Tiber in a Fiat 500, arguably the quintessential Italian car.

But photographs posted on Basta Cartelloni show the film’s locations looking grim, unkempt and in a general state of decay. The renaissance-era Ponte Sisto is strewn with sprayed-painted graffiti, and the banks of the river Tiber seem abandoned and soiled with uncollected garbage.

Image: Ponte Sisto
The area around the 15th century Ponte Sisto, a pedestrian bridge in Rome.www.bastacartelloni.it

"If that's the state of the film’s locations, let’s hope they’ll film night scenes so that the decay will be kept in the dark," the blog said.

The film shoot got off to a false start when the city council vetoed one of the planned car chases near the Presidential Palace for fear it would damage the four delicate renaissance fountains at the corners of a nearby crossroad.

However, a spokesperson for Rome’s mayor dismissed fears over the filming locations. "I don’t understand what they are talking about,” Lucia Ritrovato told NBC News. "The fact that they chose Rome to shoot a James Bond movie is a great success for the city as a whole."

Ritrovato said it was unfair to judge the cleanliness of the rumored film locations as they were “not definitive as yet.”

She added: "It’s not easy to shoot an action movie in an open-air museum. The mayor cares about the state of the city. He wants to keep it clean for everyone, not only James Bond."

NBC News' Alexander Smith contributed to this report.

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