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Woman cop mans Rome traffic pedestal

ROME, March 16 (UPI) -- Score another first for Italian women -- two female cops Monday became the first women to direct traffic from the prominent pedestal in Rome's busiest square.

The traffic officers, identified only as Alessia and Alessandra, took turns directing vehicles traveling through Piazza Venezia, ANSA reported.

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From 1898 until Monday, the white-gloved cops whose animated performances have become a tourist attraction in their own right have always been men, the Italian news agency said.

It took both drivers and the officers some getting used to, apparently.

''Your head spins a bit at the start,'' Alessia said.

''It was hard to get through to the drivers, although I suppose they were a little taken aback to see a woman in front of them,'' said Alessandra.

They called their new duty ''a big thrill."

''It's the most visible position in Rome,'' Angelo Giuliani, head of Rome's traffic police, told ANSA. ''And I can say with the greatest satisfaction that it has been admirably filled by women, an important step forward."

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