23 March 1944


Sun glinted on the Colosseum but Paolo barely noticed. The dustcart he pushed was heavy and the afternoon unseasonably warm. He was already sweating profusely.

He wanted to look behind, but his comrades were following and they would protect his back.

The Via dei Fori Imperiali led uphill and, as Paolo dragged the cart over the cobbles, he saw its contents slide precariously. He was a twenty-one-year-old medical student not a dustman and this task was far from easy.

He passed the Foro Triano, relieved that he was making progress, and struggled through Piazza del Quirinale.

‘Hey, you!’

Two dustmen approached him.

‘What are you doing here? This isn’t your zone.’