Italy: Policing the Pappagalli

The sidewalk Romeos of Rome are among the world's most aggressive. Known locally as "pappagalli" (parrots) for their incessant and provocative chatter ("Eh, bella, you speaka English? Wanna spaghetti? I give you little spaghetti, huh?"), they trail women tourists through the Via Veneto, along the Spanish Steps, and around the Fountain of Trevi. Gabbing often gives way to grabbing, and the pappagalli are adept at supplementing their spiels with patting, pinching and poking.

Such tactics produce mixed reactions. Many a woman considers a visit to Rome a failure without a pinch from a pappagallo. But others are outraged, or at least...

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