The intersection between Via Alessandro Magno and Via Timante is the one you do not want to miss when you are driving around Casal Palocco, the neighbourhood where I grew up, in Rome. It is a sensible spot because Via Timante is the shortcut to access easily the Via Cristoforo Colombo, the highway-like fast road connecting Rome to the sea front of Ostia. Houses in Casal Palocco are remarkably similar and if you do not already know the area, you miss this exit and you will get lost. Hence an arrow and a clear sign saying ” OSTIA” or “VIA CRISTOFORO COLOMBO” would have been appropriate at the crossroad. For unknown reasons, the authority decided differently and positioned a sign that inform the viewer that – and I quote verbatim: ” Maintenance of this road and sidewalks is Rome Municipality’s sole responsibility”.
Some graffiti writers thought that sign was not a big deal and gratified it with some color and tags.
It goes without saying that this kind of information has no place on a road sign. The costly procedure needed to conceive and place this nonsense on is indicative of the cultural stagnation reigning in Rome when it comes to design for public spaces. At least in New Cuyama, California, they set this up with the purpose of being funny!