November 18, 2006

TomKat ado ignites Dolce Vita in Rome

ROME - Poised with his camera outside Rome‘s elegant Hassler hotel, the so-called King of Paparazzi is waiting to get a shot.

"The Dolce Vita is back!" Rino Barillari exclaimed triumphantly, referring to the 1960 Fellini movie that coined the word "paparazzi" and gave the world the image of the glamorous Swedish star Anita Ekberg splashing around Trevi fountain.

It‘s Friday — five days since Tom Cruise first landed in Rome ahead of his highly awaited, Saturday wedding with Katie Holmes , expected to take place at a 15th-century castle in the lakeside town of Bracciano, 27 miles north of Rome.

On Wednesday, at last, Cruise and Holmes left the hotel for a late-night visit to City Hall, sending paparazzi chasing after them on motor scooters through the capital‘s streets.

"I got some good pictures," Barillari said cheerfully in a telephone interview.

His Web site features the logo, "The King of Paparazzi," and his battle cry is "War is war!" His subjects have included Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Peter O‘Toole.

"This is the wedding of the century. In the whole world they will be demanding the most beautiful pictures," Barillari gushed.

VIP guests who have been spotted in Rome in the past couple of days include Jennifer Lopez and her singer husband Marc Anthony , Will Smith , Brooke Shields , Jim Carrey , and soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria.

The good news is there is money to be made merely by getting pictures of some of Cruise and Holmes‘ guests, Barillari and other photographers said.

Still Barillari insists "the good times are back," citing as well this year‘s inaugural Rome Film Festival, which brought such stars as Cruise‘s ex, Nicole Kidman , to the Italian capital.

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