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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Rome Military Parade today...incredible!

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OMG! I could just kick, kick, kick myself!!!

Last week, while walking to the Colosseum from Piazza Venezia, we noticed quite a bit of scaffolding and bleachers going up along the Fiori Imperiali. I assumed it was for some political function, as there were local elections scheduled for last weekend.

BIG MISTAKE. HUGE!!! :((

I have not been back to that area since last week. This morning, Sunday, I turned on the tv to keep me company for breakfast. (There are no English-language channels.)

Much to my initial delight, and eventual great dismay, there was a parade being shown. Instinctively, I knew it was on the Fiori Imperiali. First panned shot indeed showed me the Colosseum at the back of the marching units. :((

The largest military parade of any kind, I have ever seen! It is a glorious sunny day in Rome and I spent 20 minutes kicking my own arse for not asking what the scaffolding was for. 

First, I love parades. Second, I really love military parades. Oh, my--- was this the best I’ve ever seen. And I’m sitting a few miles away watching it on tv, because I’m an idiot!!!

If you can find a video of this (Celebration of the Republic is, I believe, the reason for the parade) on internet, youtube, DO watch it. Wonderful!

Every single military, police, civil defense unit seemed to have been represented. There were old established units with their 18th and 19th century uniforms. Alpine units with their cute felt hats with a single black feather; the alpine ski units, dressed in their white snow uniforms and carrying their skis and poles crossed over their shoulders; canine units; naval units in stylish uniforms of every color and design; the air corps pilots (whom it must be noted did not do as well at marching as orderly as “ground” units. Hahah); medical corps for army and navy, some in desert camouflage and others in red uniforms; the nurse corps in their crisp white dresses and navy blue veils; rescue units with their dogs and neon green outfits; special ops forces dressed in all black- some wearing black riot-type helmets and some wearing black ski masks.

It was interesting to see the way each unit chose to salute the president. Some held their machine guns tight to their chests; others carried the butts under their right arms and pointed the guns forward. Very interesting and smart the way the sword units held their scabbards while marching. It was kind of a right arm forward at the same time the left hand (on the top of the scabbard) pushed the scabbard backward. Like a pendulum motion between the right arm and the scabbard. So very sharp!

There appeared to be forest service units and fire units. Different units would shout something as they followed the command for “eyes left”. (For those of you with no info on marching.. the entire unit, in order to salute the honoree or flag will sharply turn their heads to the left or right, depending on the order given and where the honoree/flag is. The exception is the line of marchers closest to the flag or honoree. Those marchers keep their eyes and heads looking straight ahead- as they are the guides for the remaining marchers to keep in step and in line.)

There was even a military band that sang a song between playing little pieces of music. I’m assuming it was some kind of regimental song. Many of the military units had their own bands that preceded them down the parade route. There was even one unit that ran the entire route! So did their band… while playing!! It was amazing! Their hats had beautiful shiny black feathers that cascaded down their backs.

Even the carabinieri had units in the parade. The final unit was the President’s own unit. Oh heavens, did they look awesome in all their plumage and silver breast plates polished to eye-popping perfection! The black shiny horse hair hanging from their helmets reached all the way down to their belts!

I was happy to see a female leading the Presidential band in the stands next to the main reviewing stand. Indeed, I was happy to see females well-represented in many of the units, and many were actually leading their units in the parade. Saw a few female drum majors also, with their different, yet all stunningly-beautiful, batons and inventive salutes to the president.

I am still kicking myself for not being there in person. But it was truly an amazing site, even on television. Go find that video if you like military parades!
Off to enjoy that sun…

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