Thursday, 29 November 2007
The university language centre, where I work, is on the seventh floor of one of Rome's ugliest buildings, halfway between the Pyramid and St Paul outside the Walls. Thrown up in the 1970s, it manages to seem both shoddy and hulking. It might have been modish at the time, with its matt grey panels and brutal silhouette, but time has done it no favours. It houses, among other things, Rome's traffic police, where people pay their fines, and the local tax offices. Not surprisingly, it's an unloved place. Which may explain why we all had to leave the building at 5 pm on Monday, following an anonymous call to say that someone had left a bomb. We stood outside for a while, then headed home.