“The President is coming!”
“Oh. How interesting.”
To be fair, I was clearly told that the President was coming to the conference. I assumed this meant the president of the university, or the president of some large company.
I finally understood that my colleagues were trying to tell me the President of Italy was coming when these dudes showed up:
This is not my photo, because I had NO IDEA that there was going to be a soldier fashion show at an economics conference.
“What the.. what? Who are those guys? What are those helmets? Why do they have swords?”
“Ah, those are the corazzieri, the official guards of the President” my Italian friend told me. “They are very tall.”
Giorgio Napolitino, the President of the Italian Republic, can only be protected by soldiers who meet a certain height requirement. Those under 190 cm need not apply for the horse hair helmet.
“It is a rule you must be tall,” my colleague emphasized.
“Huh. We just have the Secret Service in my country.”