From traffic to Hollywood. How an Italian officer caught Woody Allen's eye

November 24, 2011. Traffic is just another part of everyday life in Rome. But amid all the noise and chaos, there is one man who keeps it all under control.

With his crisp uniform and spotless white gloves--the performance begins. Up on a pedestal for everyone to see, he leads traffic along Piazza Venezia.


His name is Pierluigi Marchionne. He's been a traffic director for years, but he openly accepts other unofficial titles.

Pierluigi Marchionne
Traffic Director

“We are like a director of music and really this is very fantastic.”

Traffic is his area of expertise, but sometimes he does looks more like a music director. Pacing the rhythm of traffic and the melody of the city.

Here,  there are no traffic lights, but there is plenty of traffic, which makes sense, since the square is a passage point to the rest of the city.

Pierluigi Marchionne
Traffic Director

“If you want to go in the Coliseo, yes come in Piazza Venezia, if you want to go in the Pantheon, or in Vatican City, or in I don't know, Spanish steps or Trevi Fountain, anywhere you arrive in Venice Square.”

Drivers passing by Piazza Venezia follow his every command. And just like any good performance, of course there is an audience enjoying the show.

Tourist
“For us to see a traffic controller. It's like-crazy.”

Tourist
“It's the first time I see someone like this-he was like an actor.”

And, in fact that's not too far away from the truth. During a visit to Rome, movie director Woody Allen caught a glimpse of Pierluigi while he directed traffic. Days later, he was hired to star as himself in the 2012  film 'Nero Fiddled.'

Pierluigi Marchionne
Traffic Director

“Then I can say I am a very cosmopolitan person.”

From major diplomats to tourists from all over the world-they all pass by Piazza Venezia. Somehow, they all know what to do.

Pierluigi Marchionne
Traffic Director

“As a concert, you don't have a need to speak Italian, or to speak English or French. It's an international way, international movement, international communication and then all the people understand.”

It's just another way the Eternal City combines its historic nature with its modern style.

 
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