Rome welcomes first woman traffic cop at landmark podium in Piazza Venezia

Cristina Corbucci becomes first female traffic conductor in Rome's Piazza Venezia.

When Rome recently reintroduced the traffic conductor's podium in the central Piazza Venezia it was welcomed back by nostalgic Romans, happy to see once again a traffic official conducting rush-hour transport from on high.

Together with the return of the iconic symbol of the capital came a novelty: the first woman traffic controller to stand atop the retractable platform.

The new commander of Rome's Polizia Locale, Ugo Angeloni, has "decided to break the all-male tradition," writes Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The podium is designed to make controllers more visible as they direct traffic in the busy intersection where Via Quattro Novembre, Via del Corso and Via del Plebiscito collide.

Cristina Corbucci, 43 and from Rome's Garbatella district, has generated a flurry of media interest since she first stepped onto the iconic podium last week.

Cristina Corbucci. Photo La Repubblica.

"Up there you really feel in the centre-of-the-centre of Rome," Corbucci told Rome newspaper Il Messaggero.

With a degree in political science and a background in public procurement, Corbucci decided to make a career choice three years ago, becoming a city traffic warden.

"I have no regrets"- she told Italian newspaper La Repubblica - "I really like this job. I love being in contact with people."

With their white gloves and theatrical movements, the specially-trained traffic controllers in Piazza Venezia are viewed by Romans almost as orchestra directors.

Their role, and the podium, were immortalised by Alberto Sordi in the 1960 classic comedy Il Vigile, and more recently in Woody Allen's movie To Rome With Love.

"You know what struck me the most when directing traffic from up there? Cars almost touch you. And you hear the comments of people in their cars," Corbucci told La Repubblica. "They compliment you. They even say "thank you!" And it's mostly women."

After a period out of action, the podium recently became operational again following the re-paving of the square's sampietrini cobblestones.

Once made of wood and carried by hand into the piazza at the beginning of each shift, the podium has been in use since the late 1920s and was automated in 2006.

Cover photo Il Messaggero

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Rome welcomes first woman traffic cop at landmark podium in Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia, Roma RM, Italy