Solar eclipse fails to darken Italian sunshine

Skies across Europe darkened on Friday morning as the moon eclipsed the sun, but the much-anticipated astronomical event could not block out Italy’s springtime sunshine.

Solar eclipse fails to darken Italian sunshine
Sun watchers gather outside Rome's presidential palace. Photo: Rosie Scammell

As crowds gathered across Europe to view the solar eclipse, with people flocking to northern Norway and elsewhere, Italians also got together to watch the sky go dark.

But when the eclipse reached its peak at around 10.30am in Rome, rays of sunshine continued to bathe the Eternal City.

A few eager sun watchers clustered around lenses to see the moon creeping across the sun, while others donned special glasses for the occasion outside Rome’s presidential palace.

Rome eclipse. Photo by Rosie Scammell

While the skies above the Italian capital were just a tad gloomy during the eclipse, close-up images of the sun published online better show the astronomical event in Italy.

The Italian with the best view was undoubtedly Samantha Cristoforetti, an astronaut watching the eclipse from the International Space Station.

Back down on earth, although the sun was eclipsed to a great extent in northern Europe, clouds across London and Paris made it difficult for people there to spot the phenomenon.

The most committed eclipse-chasers headed to the Faroe Islands, a Danish autonomous territory, and Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

READ MORE: Sun watchers flock to Svalbard for total eclipse

Rome eclipse. Photo by Rosie Scammell

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Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.