Activists paint red message on Rome’s Spanish Steps

Painting Rome red Credit: Bruciamo Tutto

Activists from the group Bruciamo Tutto (Let’s Burn Everything) staged a protest at Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps, pouring red paint down the landmark’s 135 steps.

Their actions were a direct message against Italy’s alarming femicide rate. Tourists watched as protesters dipped their hands in the paint, symbolising blood, and left vivid handprints on the monument.

The protest was sparked by the killing of 22-year-old Giulia Cecchettin and the ongoing femicide cases in Italy. According to Ansa’s study, at least 109 women were killed in Italy in 2023, with over half murdered by a partner or ex-partner.

Giulia’s brutal murder by her possessive ex-boyfriend Filippo Turetta has deeply shocked Italy. The body of the biomedical engineering student was found near a lake after she had been missing for a week.

The incident, extensively covered in Italian media, boosted a national dialogue on violence against women. Despite Venice prosecutors closing their investigation into Turetta, public outrage persists as charges remain pending.

Alongside the paint, activists distributed leaflets addressing the names of women who lost their lives this year, many to partners. Several protesters were detained by authorities, according to AP.

Sanitation crews quickly washed away the paint to preserve the tourist attraction that was an international stage for films like “Roman Holiday” and “Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning.”

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Talyta Franca

Talyta Franca, Class 2026, Northwestern University in Qatar.