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In Rome now , landed yesterday 9/17

Beautiful weather today in Rome. Much more crowded than I expected and hardly anyone wearing masks outside within the crowds.. I’ve worn a mask if going into a shop or store , clerks/employees are about 50/50 on wearing a mask. One taxi driver asked us to mask up even with windows down, another driver hardly spoke at all and the last one said he didn’t care either way. We’ve not been asked to show any documents at all, inside or out.
Delta almost declined our pre-flight Covid tests. We live in a small town and had them done at an express clinic. The test result documentation had little to no details of test other than it was a rapid molecular and we tested negative.. what an ordeal and thank Heaven for the Delta supervisor that agreed to accept it and override the other needed details.
I have noticed quite a few armed guards around in addition to police. Has it always been that way ? Doesn’t bother me, I’m completely comfortable with their presence with guns. Living in and raised in the south, firearms are a part of life. I normally carry one myself! Just wondering if this is a new thing.
Heading out again tomorrow, then on to Florence on Tuesday.
Ciao!

Posted by
20 posts

So happy Delta let you go! We will be following you to Rome and Florence in 6 weeks so please post more reports! Stay safe and have fun! xo

Posted by
2804 posts

In regards to armed guards, they were present the first time we visited Rome in 2006. They were armed & positioned above on the balcony at the airport. Subsequent visits I did not see them. Enjoy your journey.

Posted by
5296 posts

There have always been armed police in Italy and Rome, and some Caribirieri will carry automatic weapons, usually a shocker for even gun society Americans. But yeah, there are a few more, and they have deployed the equivalent of the National Guard in key spots around the city (Campo di Fiore, Pantheon, etc.) mainly to just help in the event crowd control is needed. Mostly they just stand around chatting.

Posted by
12284 posts

If by “armed guards (with assault rifles)” you mean military armed forces (army soldiers), they have been a familiar fixture in key tourist spots (even in front of basilicas, including Assisi’s) since the spark of (mostly Islamic) terrorism in many European countries in the past decade or so.

Now they wish they could fight “viral terrorism” by the “Covid terrorist organization” with traditional assault rifles. Instead N95 masks seem to be the weapon of choice nowadays.

Posted by
2166 posts

There is no "equivalent to the National Guard" in Italy. Those are real soldiers assigned to anti-terrorism, not part-time Sunday warriors.

They are deployed near tourists sites and they are forbidden from doing things like crowd controlling. They are there to be shot first in case of Bataclan-style attacks, living targets for our security who do not "just stand around chatting".

Now Italians are used to see soldiers patrolling the cities and politicians do not have the guts to repeal that emergency decree and go back to normality.

The cops in Front of the NYC branch of the Orange House had way better automatic rifles than the Carabinieri's old M12s. Plus helmets, sunglasses and tons of tactical gadgets: they obviously wanted to look as soldiers.

Posted by
5296 posts

By "equivalent of the national guard" I meant in their role, in that in the US, regular Military are not allowed to be deployed domestcally except under martial law. I also do not consider the National Guard as some type of "Sunday Warrior", many have been deployed overseas, have given their lives, and are prepared for that deployment.

As for the presence in Rome, I am sure they were having serious tactical discussions rather than chatting, based on your input. sorry.

Posted by
2166 posts

I also do not consider the National Guard as some type of "Sunday Warrior",

Colonel Samuel Trautman disagrees.

Posted by
1823 posts

In my two trips to Rome--2010 & 2017--there have always been armed guards. Earlier visit it was chiefly around the embassies. In 2017, around the attractions as well.

Posted by
12488 posts

What Jay and Roberto said. Armed military were also a visible presence around the "hot spots" (e.g. the open terrace at the Louvre, busy train stations, etc.) when we were last in Paris, well before the Bataclan tragedy. In fact, we experience several abrupt closures due to terrorism threats, and one no-nonsense clearing of a busy street, complete with a convoy of armored vehicles.

Posted by
1399 posts

I have seen armed police and Military guards in Italy for many years now.
Also in Paris.
I for one am happy to see them in public, given the state of our Pale Blue Dot these days.
I have never seen them "standing around chatting".
They take their jobs very seriously, and are always on alert for trouble.
I just wish they didn't have to wear full gear out in the blazing sun; it must be very uncomfortable.

Posted by
38 posts

Greetings again from Roma.. what a beautiful city. Today we did a tour of Roman Forum and Colosseum . We went through “Get your Guide” and were very pleased with the tour and especially our guide Marcius. He was so friendly and knowledgeable.
He did comment that tourism in general is limited and the tour itself was operating at a reduced capacity. I still felt there was a crowd… I’d hate to see it without pandemic restrictions! So much walking with this tour, I believe he said it was about 3 miles all together with lots of steps, walking rapidly uphill to keep tour on time and of course down hill as well. If you have trouble getting around, I wouldn’t recommend this tour. This old gal and hubby were both worn out afterwards but happy we’d gone ..(and kept up too 😊).
Have had zero problems getting taxi’s. Much better than I’d expected.
Heading out tomorrow for Best of Vatican tour and St Peters Basilica tour.. both through Get Your Guide.
Had to show our passports and vax card to enter Roman Forum and again for Colosseum entry. Still no requests for either at any restaurant . Simply loving the food!

Ciao!

Posted by
12 posts

Hi Suzette,

thanks for the updates! My wife and I will be there in a little over 2 weeks, so I will check out that tour company you mentioned. Where have y'all enjoyed eating so far?

Posted by
38 posts

@ ben :

We have truly enjoyed the food even though we aren’t huge pasta eaters. Of course there is so much more to Italian food than just pasta . In Rome our favorite place was “Ristorante Julie’s”. We’ve eaten outside every evening and enjoyed the atmosphere and food the most here, so much so that we ate there twice! It was near our hotel which was “Liberty Boutique” located at. via Palestro 64.

We also enjoyed delicious gelato at a little hole-in-the-wall place close to Vatican City. We both thought Vatican City was among the most beautiful places we’ve seen. We aren’t Catholic but don’t need to be to see the beauty.

Ciao! Enjoy your trip😊

Posted by
6602 posts

Yes, you will see armed soldiers in Rome near historic sites. We have seen them on last two trips there. ( last one was Jan 2020).

Posted by
8 posts

Interesting so few masks in crowded areas. I wonder if that's the same in other smaller towns?

Posted by
38 posts

I’m seeing the same in Florence . Out and about , in the streets etc. not seeing a lot of masks. Our hotel appears to be super vigilant which is fine.