Rome - Rome's cash-strapped city council has come up with a novel idea to keep green spaces tidy: it will use sheep and cows to trim overgrown grass.

Environment commissioner Pinuccia Montanari said Thursday that an experiment with sheep is working well in the south-eastern Caffarella park and will be expanded.

Speaking to InBlu radio, a Catholic station, Montanari noted that Rome is home to one of the largest urban green spaces in Europe, measuring 44 million square metres.

"Lacking resources and personnel, we have tried to find all possible solutions," she said, adding that two council-owned farms could provide the animals.

While the proposal was met with some scepticism by opposition politicians and many commentators on social media, farming lobby Coldiretti welcomed it.

"With 50,000 sheep being bred in Rome's municipality, the capital can count on a real army of natural lawnmowners," the association said in a statement.

Rome's council is overburdened with debts and struggling to deal with several crises, including severely potholed roads and near-bankrupt bus company ATAC, whose run-down vehicles regularly catch fire.