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“Lockdown? what lockdown?” – i gatti di Roma


Just a quick note: you know all that stuff about how there’s lots of military in Rome now after all that ISIS stuff? How the streets are being patrolled and security increased at popular tourist sites like… oh, I don’t know… St. Peter’s Piazza?

Yeah… whatevs…

I just asked a friend of mine who works about two blocks from there:

“I haven’t noticed. There’s maybe an extra armed guard or two at places that already had armed guards, but I haven’t noticed a huge increase. Rome has always had lots of people wandering about with assault rifles. Part of that, though, I think, is that we just don’t notice them. I mean, I look around every once in awhile and say, ‘Huh, guys with assault rifles.’ But I realize they’re always there, I just usually don’t pay any attention.”

But Prime Minister Renzi is really pulling out all the stops to keep the streets safe for tourists…

The 40-year old Italian prime minister on Tuesday laid out plans for €2bn in new spending in response to the November 13 attacks in Paris, amid growing concerns that Italy could be a terrorist target. While €1bn would be used for security and defence purposes, another €1bn would pay for cultural programmes.

This includes more money for disenfranchised neighbourhoods on the outskirts of big cities, where there are often clashes between Italians and immigrants, but also a €500 bonus for every 18-year old to spend at theatres, concerts and museums. The idea, according to Mr Renzi, is to reinforce their sense of being guardians of Italy’s vast cultural heritage.

“What happened in Paris signalled a step-up in the cultural battle that we are living,” Mr Renzi said at a speech at the Capitoline Museum in Rome. “They imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art. They destroy books, we are the country of libraries.”

That’ll show em.

I haven’t been in the City since last June (thanks be to God), and I remember seeing exactly one (1) armoured car at Tiburtina train station. It was sitting about half a block away from where the bus from Umbria stops, right in front of the ISIS cafe where all the Somali “youths” with nothing to do but harass white women usually park themselves for the day. Lounging on its hood were two (2) skinny guys in perfectly pressed army uniforms, with perfectly blowdried and coiffed hair, smoking cigarettes and drinking tiny coffees while checking themselves out and ogling women.

Apart from that, there was just the usual carabinieri around the centro, with their automatic weapons stationed outside the embassies and president’s place.

And that was it.