When in Rome…

I arrived today in Rome and headed to the Piazza San Pietro, it was only a ten minute walk from the B&B where I booked a place to stay. I was surprised to hear from a priest as to why there was litter in the Piazza. On this particular walk I did not take my trash pick-up gloves and small collection bags. Prior to my arrival at the B&B was a bus ride from the airport and train ride to near the B&B. Yes, there was trash along the way, more than I typically see in Florida.

Walking among the massive columns around the Piazza San Pietro was truly impressive.  Much of the space was blocked off and there was a noticeable police presence, some looking like part of a SWAT team with large automatics. I had seen this type presence on some of the Caribbean Islands recently.

The Basilica had closed for the day and in the space on the west side, where people exited, there was quite a bit of litter. I set out to see if I could do some volunteer clean up and starting inquiring with the local guards. I was looking for someone who spoke English since “volunteer / community service” didn’t translate.  I ended up talking to a priest standing with an older couple. He was able to help me understand what was going on and why there was so much litter today. Our conversation ended when he received a call he seemed to be waiting for and the three walked away.

The priest shared that the area was on a high alert, a rating of 4, regarding threats from Isis.

Under the circumstances, the staff that normally de-littered had been sent home.

I thought about that and wanted to tell the priest not to worry, I believed that we were safe and would come to no harm.

I spent some additional time sitting in the middle of the Piazza facing the Basilica di San Pietro. In front of me were a few pieces of trash, they seemed destined to stay the night.  Tomorrow I’ll have my glove and bag ready to pick up some litter and be grateful for the experience.  Contemplate that.