Sunday, June 21, 2009
But Is It a Safe Place to Visit?
Italy is very safe. Your biggest concern is pick-pockets. We found police and military personnel all over no matter what city we were in. Rome certainly had the highest amount of "protection". The Italians are funny about sirens. They love to see what is happening. We were in a shop in Sorrento. I was paying for my purchases and you could hear a police car coming down the street. The shop owner starts saying "police" and he runs to the front door to see what's going on. One morning, Kim and I were eating breakfast at our hotel in Sorrento. Once again, we heard the siren's make their way down the street. The gal who worked at the front desk came running out onto the balcony to see the rescue vehicles. She managed to bring her binoculars with her. I have a lot of things on my desk at work but binoculars isn't one of them.
One day, we were taking the bus thru Rome. We happened to drive by an area that had a lot of reporters and LOTS of police and military personnel. We later found out that the location was the president's house. The G8 meetings were being held in Rome. The ministers for Energy, Justice and Interior were meeting inRome. I've never seen so many Mercedes with drivers/bodyguards? in my life. You always knew something was going big was going on but you didn't know what. On our last day in Rome, there was something going down in our 'hood. Streets were blocked off with military personnel and military helicopters were flying around our location. We got to the street that our hotel was on and the police had our street blocked at both ends. The shop owner next to the hotel told Kim there was violence down the street. We asked the man at the front desk in the hotel. He said it was because of the G8 conference. It's a normal occurance in Italy but Americans have the real violence he said. Well he is right about America being violent because of weapons in the hands of individuals. We saw a couple of irate Italian women screaming and I do mean screaming at the police because they wouldn't let them down the street. We watched this go on for about 10 minutes. Now, in America, you don't scream at the police at the top of your lungs. You get the hell out of their way or you are off to jail.
There were always lots of police in the heavy touristy areas. I can't tell you how many times we asked the police for directions. They are all over the place. I certainly felt that they were doing their job with security issues. Heck, even the Vatican Guards had spears.