A typo in a road marking has caused amusement among residents of a town near Rome, helping to break the monotony of the coronavirus lockdown.
Workers freshening up markings this week at an intersection on Via Regina Margherita in the beach town of Sabaudia painted “Sotp” instead of “Stop” in bold letters.
A photo of the error was posted by Giada Gervasi, the mayor of Sabaudia, on her Facebook page, inviting ironic comments including suggestions that the typo should be maintained as a tourist attraction.
Gervasi was quick to distance the town hall from the misprint, writing on Facebook that “the company in charge made a mistake” and promising a quick correction. “Sotp will return to Stop,” she wrote. “It’s a small mistake that maybe made you smile!”
Indeed it did. “This error has made us laugh, we need it right now!” wrote Mara Chiarato beneath the mayor’s post. Some suggested it was perhaps an early April Fools’ Day joke, while others urged the typo to be maintained. “It will attract people … and if it goes viral we’ll have people queueing up to take selfies alongside it,” wrote Chicca Antezza.
Giuseppe Pannone joked that perhaps it wasn’t a mistake and “Sotp” was intended as an acronym for “Se oltrepassi ti puniamo!” (If you cross over we’ll punish you).
The typo was quickly rectified, although Gervasi later had to spring to the defence of the culprit. “Once again no time was wasted in insulting those who, in carrying out their work, made a mistake,” she wrote in another post on Facebook.
Gervasi backed up her message of solidarity with the worker by citing a famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt, the US president between 1901 and 1909: “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”