Rome police cook pasta for lonely elderly couple

Four policemen cooked pasta for an elderly couple after rushing to their home in Rome when a neighbour overheard their cries of despair.

Rome police cook pasta for lonely elderly couple
Michele and Jole eat the pasta cooked up by Rome police. Photo: Questura di Roma

The couple – Jole, 84, and her 94-year-old husband, Michele, became anguished after watching the TV news, which included stories of terror attacks and abuse at a nursery in Italy, they told police.

Their cries were so loud that they were heard by a neighbour, who called the police.

Fearing that their home had been burgled or they were victims of a scam, the four officers – called Andrea, Alessandro, Ernesto and Mirko – headed straight to their apartment.

But instead of arriving at the scene of a crime, they found the lonely couple, who said nobody had been to see them for months.

“There was no crime,” the officers said in a statement on Questura di Roma's Facebook page.

“Jole and Michele were not victims of a scam, as often happens to the elderly, and there was no burglary. On this occasion, we had a more difficult task to perform – these were two lonely souls who needed reassuring.”

The officers’ description of the incident last week melted hearts, with the Facebook post being shared over 24,000 times.

The couple have been together for 70 years.

“Jole and Michele love eachother,” the police wrote. “But when loneliness burdens the heart, you lose hope…the TV kept them company, but they wondered why there is so much wickedness in the world.

“Sometimes loneliness can melt into tears, especially on a sultry Roman summer evening, when the city is empty and neighbours are away on holiday.”

While waiting for medics to arrive to check the couple were OK, the officers asked permission to access their pantry and set about cooking a simple dish: pasta and parmesan. 

“It was nothing special,” they said. “But it included a special ingredient: humanity.”

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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.