Sunset - Flickr / CC

The end of a clear January day in Roma. Time for a run before the sun set over the pines lining the hills along the Tiber north of the city, a perfect end to a long day in the office. The cycle path along the Tiber is a perfect place to run – wide, flat, quiet – and with the temperature at 10ºC it was most pleasant… until I came across one of the most scary and unusual sights I’ve seen in Western Europe in recent years.

At the point marked ? on the map below I came across a series of run-down wooden shacks located on the river side of the dykes that keep flood waters away from the city, i.e. this area would have been under water at the end of 2008.

Around the perimeter of the shacks were 5 army Land Rovers, with 2 soldiers with machine guns and bullet proof vests stood next to each vehicle. Amongst the shacks were 3 Polizia Nazionale cars, and 2 Polizia Nazionale vans.

And the inhabitants of these ‘residences’ befitting of the third world? Roma. Kids aplenty circling the legs of the soldiers and policemen.

How, oh how, can such a circumstance be allowed? All of this in the suburbs of Italy’s capital city, a couple of kilometres from places as smart as VOY.

Is the local population not utterly ashamed of this? I’ll try to return later this week to take some photographs. Yet for now I’m just shaken.

[UPDATE] Seems it has to do with a rape in Guidonia. See this and this. No clue whether the soldiers are to keep the Roma in, or everyone else out.

Map link


  1. BTW Berlusconi just found another opportunity to be thick about this rape.

  2. sure this isn’t the norm for Italy – seem a bit over the top

  3. Giacomo D.

    Welcome to Italy Jon

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