The Faces of Authority

You don’t have to be in Rome long before you realise that there are so many enforcers. In the UK we have The Police, which are throughout the country, but run regionally but still following the same laws. More recently Community Support Officers, who are similar to the Police but with less powers.

Carabinieri at The Colloseum
Carabinieri at The Colloseum

In Rome there seem to be so many different types of Law Enforcement. I am not sure who they all are and what jurisdiction they have. The two main forces I noticed were the Carabinieri and the Police.

Carabinieri at The Colloseum
Carabinieri at The Colloseum

Carabinieri at Il VittorianoBut there were also others, including Carabinieri who seemed to be older, and also noticing Voluntari on their badge. In the shot below they are standing outside the entrance to “Il Vittoriano”, the Altare della Patria. The Carabinieri on the left was blowing his whistle at anybody who sat on the steps or sat on the floor, couldn’t understand why but maybe that’s his job!

I thought I would do some quick research on whether there are different departments within the Carabinieri. After typing that I thought I would do some research. If I typed in “VOLONTARI VIGILANZA BENI CULTURALI” in Google translate I got “VOLUNTEER SUPERVISION CULTURAL HERITAGE”, but if I typed it in lower case “Volontari Vigilanza Beni Culturali” I got “Volunteer Guard Cultural Heritage”. A little more looking and use of translation it seems that there is an association for retired Carabinieri, where they are looked after and helped to find work or volunteering. As you can see I am no authority but you is more than welcome to correct me on this or give a better understanding.

Carabinieri at Il Vittoriano
Carabinieri at Il Vittoriano

It seemed to me that they had a different affiliation depending on the colour of their shirts, but what was also surprising was the number of Police that wore tabards as seen at the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain).

Police at the Fontans di Trevi
Police at the Fontans di Trevi

At The Colloseum

I was wondering if some were part of the Police Force, but maybe a different section of say Tourist Police, who maybe deal with tourists and being more of a help to tourists and keeping order, rather than the criminal side of things. I thought I would include 2 shots of this officer at The Colloseum, as she looked so stern in the shot on the right, where she was staring at me, but so cheerful passing a comment with her comment below.

At The Colloseum
At The Colloseum

Outside the Palazzo dei SenatoriOutside the Palazzo dei Senatori in the Piazza del Campidoglio, where white shirted officials. These also seemed more linked with the Police than Carabinieri. It seems that there is a different security for different buildings. Whether they come under the Authority of the Italy or just of Rome.

Palazzo dei Senatori

Guarding David?

Also on the Piazza del Campidoglio next to the Palazzo dei Senatori is the Palazzo Nuovo, where it seems once again to be guarded by the Carabinieri. I was bewildered by this, as the statue inside seems to be Michelangelo’s “David”, but I know that is in Florence, but I have been unable to find out if this is a copy or a different version.

I do know that the Piazza del Campidoglio was designed by Michelangelo so maybe this is the link.

It was funny though, that so many people tried to walk in through the entrance that this guard was in front of, but he wouldn’t allow them in, instead directing them to another entrance.


I spotted a Traffic Officer at the crossing on the Via del Corso where it meets Piazza Venezia. Although he was similar, the difference here is that he had a domed hat, but like some of the Carabinieri, he had a whistle.

Traffic Officer on Via del Corso
Traffic Officer on Via del Corso

The Carbinieri always seemed to be around though. Whether it was in a mobile Carabinieri van as below.

Mobile Carabinieri
Mobile Carabinieri

Or speeding along the closed off Via dei Fori Imperiali, with their arms hanging out of the window, and their blue lights flashing.

Carabinieri on the move
Carabinieri on the move

I suppose as in all walks of life they have to take time out. I don’t know if this is a Carabinieri Officer or just a Security Guard, but he is playing it safe by having a smoke next to the Fire Hydrant.

Time out for a smoke
Time out for a smoke

The only thing that seems to be certain though, is that if you are given Authority, you are given a gun!


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6 thoughts on “The Faces of Authority

  1. Wayne, love this set, you have some really great shots here, with superb eye conract, you have learned well young Waynewalker and started to turn to the dark side!! You hsve donr a great job on this Wayne very well done.

  2. Thank you Obi-Wan Kenobi! 🙂

  3. Julián del Nogal

    Great set again, Wayne…in this one I specially like “time out for a smoke” (great compo and timing to get this scene) and “mobile carabinieri” (great eyes contact)… two fantastic shots.

  4. Wonderful pictures of the police! I love how you can take one theme, such as law enforcement, and provide so much variety in your shots. You really make Italy come alive in your pictures and posts. I can’t even pick a favorite from this group, although “Time out for a smoke” is really nice.

  5. Very interesting Wayne. I too like the juxtaposition image of the guy having a cigarette break next to the fire hydrant.

    One thing that struck me was the ‘relaxed attitude’ amongst them that came across in the images. Hands in pockets, checking finger nails and arm hanging out of the window on a blue light call!…or maybe it’s just me and my upbringing from several years ago :0)

    Once again an enjoyable read and selection of images.

  6. I’m glad you all liked the post.

    When shooting I find that after a short while that I am shooting a couple of similar things, so then intentionally try to find more. That is what happened here. A similar thing happened with the “Women with Tattoos” post.

    Grant – I’m glad you picked up on the relaxed atmosphere, it’s not like the UK. I did comment to Baz after the Carabinieri car shot that all you seem to need to be a Carabinieri officer is to undo your top button and hang your arm outside the car! 🙂

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