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Barack Obama Gets Rock Star Welcome In Italy (Photos)

| by Michael Doherty

Former President Barack Obama received a warm welcome in Italy as he arrived in Bologna.

The former leader and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, were mobbed by admirers asking to shake hands and take photos, TMZ reports. The Obamas are in the country on vacation, and have been spotted enjoying themselves golfing and hiking.

Photos show the former president greeting fans and even posing with a baby.

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His successor, President Donald Trump, was also in Italy, according to AOL, meeting with Pope Francis and Italian President Sergio Mattarella on May 24 before leaving for Brussels, where he will be meeting with NATO leaders and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Barack was in Milan earlier in May to give a speech on climate change and meet with former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. After the speech, the Obamas reportedly left for Tuscany, where they stayed in a villa reported to be owned by John Philips, the former ambassador to Italy during Obama's administration.

Barack is expected to deliver a speech in Germany on May 25 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Newsweek.

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The Obamas have kept a relatively low profile since leaving the White House, spotted vacationing in the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Barack made his first public appearance since leaving office when he spoke with students at the University of Chicago in late April.

"This community gave me a lot more than I was able to give in return, because this community taught me that ordinary people, when working together, can do extraordinary things," said Barack, reflecting on his time as a community organizer in Chicago, and how it helped chart a path for his political career, according to Time.

"And what I'm convinced of is that although there are all kinds of issues that I care about and all kinds of issues that I intend to work on, the single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world," said the former president during the speech.

Barack focused his remarks on young people in the country, and the way that he could help "knock down barriers" to help create opportunities for young Americans to become leaders.

"The only folks who are going to be able to solve that problem are going to be young people, the next generation. And I have been encouraged everywhere I go in the United States, but also everywhere around the world to see how sharp and astute and tolerant and thoughtful and entrepreneurial our young people are," said the former president.

He added: "Are there ways in which we can knock down some of the barriers that are discouraging young people about a life of service? And if there are, I want to work with them to knock down those barriers." 

Sources: TMZ, AOL, Newsweek, Time / Photo credit: Pete Prodoehl/Flickr, Backgrid via TMZ

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