Wanted in Rome bids farewell to Geoffrey Watson

Geoffrey S. Watson, known to friends as Jef, passed away in Rome on 30 January 2020.

Geoffrey was a senior and central member of the Wanted in Rome family, joining the team about a decade ago after retiring as chief press officer at the British embassy to Italy, with a journalistic portfolio including work for Reuters.

Geoffrey became the main news writer for our Wanted in Milan website, documenting news in the Lombardian capital, with a particular personal interest in stories concerning themes such as crime, terrorism and politics.

Geoffrey also played a crucial role as proof-reader for feature articles published in Wanted in Rome magazine. His proof-reading skills were second to none and he could spot a typo at a hundred yards. One always imagined him tackling the page as a surgeon would approach an operation.

Proofs were regularly returned to us with a sea of minuscule corrections highlighted, accompanied by wry observations and quirky anecdotes. Awkward turns of expression were fine-tuned, waffle dissected, slang frowned-upon. He was a big fan of commas.

Geoffrey was meticulous with his work; "nitty gritty" was a favourite expression of his, and he took an almost perverse pleasure in tackling – and conquering – the intricacies of Italian bureaucracy. His last feature article for our magazine was entitled Dealing with red tape in Italy.

A resident of Italy for more than 40 years, Geoffrey was a committed European and it is worth noting that he chose to leave this world the day before the UK left the European Union.

Geoffrey is survived by his wife Marina and son Martin. He will leave a void at Wanted in Rome and we will miss him very much.