Tight security in Rome for Obama visit

Certain areas of capital in lock-down mode until Friday

Rome is under tight security for the duration of the three-day state visit of US president Barack Obama who landed in Fiumicino airport at 21.15 on 26 March.

Obama, who comes to Rome after three days of talks with EU leaders in the Netherlands and Brussels about the ongoing Ukraine crisis, was met at Fiumicino by the US ambassador John R. Phillips, the US ambassador to the Holy See Kenneth F. Hackett, and Italian and Vatican officials.

There are numerous street closures, public bus diversions and limited parking in certain areas of the capital until 13.00 on 28 March, to faciliate the movements of the president's 30-vehicle motorcade. In particular there is limited viability around Via Veneto near the US embassy to Italy, and around the Parioli residence of the US ambassador to Italy, the 15th-century Villa Taverna where Obama is a guest until 28 March.

On the morning of 27 March, Obama is scheduled to meet Pope Francis, his first meeting with the Argentine pontiff and his second official visit to the Vatican after his 2009 audience with Pope Benedict XVI. While Obama and Pope Francis hold very different views on many social issues, the meeting is expected to focus on their shared ground. Ahead of the visit, the US deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama has been "inspired" by Pope Francis and the way he has "motivated people around the world with his messages of inclusion and equality."

The visit to the Vatican is followed by a meeting at the Quirinal palace with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, whom Obama has met four times previously: once in Rome and three times in Washington. Obama will then have a working lunch with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US national security adviser Susan Rice, Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini, Ambassador Phillips, and Italy's ambassador to the US, Claudio Bisogniero.

Afterwards the US president will meet Italian premier Matteo Renzi at Villa Madama, the 16th-century villa used for state functions.

Obama is also scheduled to visit the Colosseum some time after 13.00, during which time the Colosseo stop on the Metro B line will be closed.

Italy has deployed 1,000 police to help guard the American president, as well as hundreds of US secret service agents, bomb disposal experts, helicopters and snipers. In addition to the expected commuter chaos, it has been reported that mobile phone users could experience difficulty getting reception in certain areas when Obama is nearby.

The last time Obama was in Italy was in 2009 when he attended a G8 summit in L'Aquila.

For full details of road closures and bus diversions see the Muoversi a Roma website.

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Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome
Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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