An Italian tourist who took a wrong turn into a favela and wound up dead with a bullet in his head today is another reminder of the ever-present danger bubbling below the beauty of Rio.
The 52-year-old, Roberto Bardella (on the left above), was riding a motorcycle alongside his cousin Rino Polato, 59, to the beach when their GPS led them into the Morro dos Prazeres favela with totally unforeseen and grave consequences just before midday.
Wearing professional riding clothes
Walking through a Rio de Janeiro favela I was told by my resident guide that the order from the most senior gangsters is to not lay a hand on visitors.
She said I could navigate the Cantagalo favela’s steep maze of pathways, streets and stairs safely with a Brazilian or even alone, something more people are not afraid to do. Because of this Cariocas often say you’re safer from being robbed inside them than near the beaches.
Bringing in money to an economy once off limits