It’s a fairly common scene these days, in the corridors of the dicasteries or the offices of the palaces surrounding the Vatican. Those who work there have, for a few hours, put on an extra layer. A coat or a sweater that they never take off, or that they put on, for the most resistant, when night falls on Rome, around 5 p.m., when the 18°C of the day gradually melts to iron overnight below 8°C.
While the cold is slowly settling in the Italian capital, after a summer month of October, the employees of the services of the Roman Curia go through these days of transition during which the temperature begins to drop seriously without the heating having been alight.
Everyone therefore develops their own strategy, while waiting for a manager to decide to press the button on the boiler. “I have two or three sweaters in stock, a scarf, and sometimes even a hat”, laughs a religious living in a house not far from the Vatican. Elsewhere, sweaters have appeared under jackets, in premises where the air conditioning is running at full speed in summer.
Certainly, here, no prime minister to promote down jackets in order to be able to lower the heating, as Elisabeth Borne did a few weeks ago. But the start of the riscaldamento traditionally only takes place quite late in the Vatican. In some palaces, it is even announced for November 21.
A use reinforced by an energy crisis which saw, in Italy, gas prices double in a few weeks. And, no doubt, by a desire to preserve the “common home” that is the planet, of which Pope Francis is constantly the ardent defender.