21 November 2015

The new normal in Rome will be a bit more than I thought

Yesterday I asked if the increased security I saw outside of the Vatican City State would become the new normal throughout the city of Rome. As it happens, the answer is no, the security will be even greater and will take effect on Monday, November 23rd. The new normal will be even more striking.

It was reported earlier this week that Roman airspace would be closed to drones for the duration of the Jubilee of Mercy. In point of fact, most of the city's airspace will be closed to all aircraft.

In addition to the increased presence of some 2,000 security personnel on the sidewalks and on public transportation throughout the city, metal detectors will be installed at the Colosseum.

These additional measures come after reports of five suspicious packages, two on Thursday and three on Friday, across the city of Rome, all of which, thankfully, turned out to be false alarms, which led the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, to warn that those who foster false bomb scares "will be prosecuted." There was also a report yesterday of a possibly unstable man in the streets carrying a rifle; I'm not sure what became of the man.

If nothing else, it is clear that the Romans are concerned about the risk of a terrorist attack and are being vigilant.

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