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Can someone please ask that child to be quiet… I can’t hear my Mini!

If anyone ever asks you which nation produces the best wines in the world, you could be forgiven for coming up with three or more answers. The same for cars, cheese, fashion etc, but should anyone ever ask you which country produces the noisiest children in the world, the answer will without doubt be Italy.

It coincidentally also produces parents of noisy children who are incapable of parking their cars or scooters! I know this as on the morning of Wednesday May 15th I experienced this phenomenon at the Crowne Plaza car park. It was awash with screaming kids, shouty parents with cars and scooters strewn all over the shop. One chap perched his scooter right behind our car so the only way to exit would have been to run over it. Though tempted, I refrained and firmly asked him to move his two wheel blockage. The noisy people were there to depart on coaches for a day excursion. It was taking forever – there seemed to be no sense of pace let alone urgency. Our Minis’ departure times loomed, I became desperate and so called the Carabinieri who were stationed at the exit of the hotel to ensure a smooth exit for our Minis. They came over instantly and leant their support to the situation. Strange how quiet the kids and their parents became when an irate Carabinieri started waving his hands around all excitedly…. funny that all the stupidly parked vehicles also moved now with a sense of pace and urgency!

We were on our way north today to the Etruscan Necropolis at Cerveteri and then on to a most fantastic mediaeval village called Ceri, positioned at the top of a small rock. The Necropolis was the scene of the final time control of the Italian Job 2013 and it was here that the winners won and the second place team came second… it was that tight but more in tomorrow’s blog! The Necropolis at Cerveteri is a significant archaeological site and one which warranted as much time as our itinerary would permit. So we enjoyed a guided tour which illustrated very clearly how the Etruscans lived and of course died.

After the guided visit of the tombs we left and headed to Ceri (some ten miles away). Ceri is home to only 100 people, so our 75 or so Jobbers really swelled numbers that day. We had to be spot on with our timings in order to ascend into the village square via the only road in and the only road out. It’s traffic light controlled and the road is literally that narrow that you virtually scratch the sides of the rock as you drive along. As you emerge at the top there is the small village square with fantastic vantage points over the surrounding Lazio countryside. It really is a magical place and when we say the Italian Job will take you to places you never even imagined existed, it really is true. There is no way any one of our number would ever have stumbled across this jewel of a place. That’s why our road books are never discarded, for they will bring our Jobbers back here time and again whenever they visit next.

We devoured a wonderful and very filling lunch and then we were at leisure to return to Rome and our hotel to prepare for our closing black tie gala dinner, which would officially mark the end of the Italian Job 2013.

The return to Rome was easy and by now none of us really needed our road books to guide us. Back at the hotel we witnessed yet more carnage of Roman parking but we managed to squeeze most of our cars into our allocated space. Good job too as I was just about to shout out for Mario, the machine gun toting Carabinieri with very excited arm movements for assistance. Thankfully though it wasn’t necessary.

Tomorrow… our black tie gala dinner and our ‘Arrivederci Roma’.

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