These Italians do love to demonstrate. Today was the third demonstration in the 5 days that I’ve been in their capital. I’m beginning to think that their record for such events is better than even that of the French’s.
As I was heading out to Villa Borghese this morning, I noticed a particularly horrendous traffic just around the corner from the hotel. The little cars that Italians favour by necessity as well as buses were all at a standstill. Just about the only ones in motion were scooters, bicycles and people. The cause was yes another rally, this time by high school students!
Forget Villa Borghese. Let’s have a truly Italian experience and follow these guys.
I walked with the thousands of kids all the way from Rome Termini, down Via Cavour, then turning right into Via del Fori Imperiali before stopping for about thirty minutes right in front of Monumento a Vittorio Emanuelle II. The slow but long walk then continued from there to finally enter, to the bewilderment of the many tourists, and end in the Piazza Navona – one of the most famous squares in all of Rome. There the students were met by what looked to be a government official who received their message.
All along the route the police – some in riot gear, others in plain clothes and carrying surveillance equipment – accompanied the march, although the mood on the other side seemed more like one big street party than a serious political action. Throughout the march, popular music played on the loudspeaker. They sang and they danced. Some young boys, too, looked to be more interested in flirting than anything else. And some of the girls appeared to be getting ready for the catwalk and more than willing to strike a pose for the camera!
While I certainly do not recommend going to a local political rally for your own travels, it can be a lot of fun. It’s a chance to observe the local people up close. If nothing else, a rally like this one is a sure way to guide you through some of the main tourist spots. Today, for example, we walked past the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia and, of course, Piazza Navona.