In Palermo It Rains Rats

In some places it rains cats and dogs. In Palermo, it rains rats.

Rodents that otherwise leap from rooftop to rooftop in the rundown center of Sicily’s capital, had grown too fat to jump and were plummeting to the streets, sometimes hitting passersby below.

Pictures of the area showed horrified citizens looking in disbelief at streets littered with dead rats, which had fallen from the house of a woman who was feeding them.

The busy street near Palermo’s courthouse had been closed to traffic Thursday, when dozens of angry residents erected barricades and protested the city’s failure to do something about the rats.

Today, dozens of rats were exterminated.

Town official Giuseppe Giarratana said the rodents had been bred by an elderly woman in her apartment. When she was hospitalized earlier this week, the rats went out looking for food, and some tumbled off of her roof and into the thoroughfare.

In the woman’s apartment “there was a carpet of rats,” said Luigi Salerno, a spokesman for the company called to exterminate the rodents.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.