In a bid to keep its municipal lawns trim while saving money, the city of Turin has done away with lawn mowers and brought in 700 sheep to graze in two parks.
Turin police blocked roads last Thursday as the first flock moved in to tackle the Meisino park, part of a two-month stint which city officials say will save €30,000 (£24,000) on gardeners' fees.
Shepherds brought up the herd, carrying 16 newly born lambs belonging to the flock, which will now be left to graze at the park on the city's outskirts until the grass is cricket-pitch smooth.
The scheme was tested last year with cows and sheep, but the cows were not invited back after leaving behind too much dung.
"I came here last year as well and it worked out really well," said shepherd Federico Tombolato after leading his flock back into Turin. "The city saved money and kept the park clean, while I saved money by not having to rent fields to graze my sheep."
A second flock is scheduled to descend today on the Sangone park. In both parks the sheep are kept in fenced-off sections and then moved on when the grass is trim. Signs will be erected to inform park goers why hundreds of sheep have temporarily replaced joggers and dog walkers.
After the two-month stay in the city, the sheep will be withdrawn to Alpine pastures for the summer.