Other recent articles
Is Fiumicino Airport at Risk? Inappropriate building materials may have been used.
Italians feel vulnerable to encroaching poverty.
Wettest summer in 35 years
Donor insemination to come to Italy
Sites reopened at Pompeii
Sari's e-book on sale this weekend at Amazon
Alitalia’s fate hangs in the balance.
Berlusconi cannot leave Italy (for now)
Keep an eye on (or rather, in) your bill fold.


Did he or didn't he and does it really matter? Yes! And here's why.
May 31, 2009 at 08:11 PM

Noemi with Berlusconi's photo
The Noemi Letizia case, the one involving the Italian prime minister and a teenage blonde beauty, is gathering steam, and if this were any other country the head of government might already have been forced to resign. This being Italy, and the man involved being TV and real estate magnate Silvio Berlusconi, one of the most popular politicians in recent Italian history, this may very well never happen.

To an extent, the events of the near future depend on Italy's fast approaching European and local elections (next weekend); should Berlusconi's government suffer a significant loss in votes, who knows what he would do. On the other hand, again this being Italy, the whole business could also fade into nothingness if something else happens to divert the press' attention, or if it should be revealed - once again - that a majority of Italians think that Berlusconi's lifestyle and behaviour (which many others, including this writer, find abhorrent) is just fine and dandy. Something in which they wish they, too, could partake.

Italy takes hard line against boat people
May 26, 2009 at 12:10 PM

To be published in Wanted in Rome.

The Italian government, showing an unusual degree of determination, in early May put into effect a new, hard-line policy against illegal immigrants arriving in this country by sea. The turn of the screw against the "boat people", in large part black Africans, who over the last several years have been arriving in large numbers on Italy's southern shores - primarily Sicily and the Sicilian island of Lampedusa - has created great controversy., so great that for at least a few weeks it convinced politicians and members of the press to talk about something else than Silvio Berlusconi's personal problems.

Fra Angelico: Don't miss it!
May 17, 2009 at 11:18 PM


Five hundred and fifty years ago (in 1455) the Renaissance painter known today alternatively as Fra Angelico or Beato Angelico (the Blessed Angelico), died in Rome at the age of 60 and this city's Capitoline Museums is celebrating the anniversary with a major exhibition - the largest in Italy since 1955. Guido di Pietro was born in 1395 in the Tuscan town of Vicchio and at the age of 22 took his vows in the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole and as a Dominican monk was given the name Friar Giovanni of Fiesole.

At the time of his vows, Friar John was already painting and the exhibition, subtitled, "The Dawn of the Renaissance", traces the various phases of Fra Angelico's career from his late Gothic works, through his work as an illuminator of monastic manuscripts and on to the blossoming of his full Renaissance humanism. It puts on view such major works as the Paradiso, the Cortona Triptych, two of the panels from the Armadio degli Argenti from the San Marco Museum in Florence (and which bowled me over at age 18!) and the famous Annunciation from San Giovanni Valdarno.

There are decorated Codex, altarpieces and parchments. And, additionally, the exhibit includes some Fra Angelico works never before shown to the public such as the Zagreb altar step, which shows the Stigmate of St. Francis and the Martyrdom of St Peter, the Dresden Annunciation which was reassembled in the 16th century, and part of the Annalena altarpiece, which is now in Zurich. Two side panels of a 1430 triptych, The Blessed and The Damned, go on view for the first time, having been purchased years ago by an American collector.

The exhibition, which opened on April 8th (I was out of the country and was unaware of it) lasts through July 5. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, from 9:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. and tickets cost €6 for Fra Angelico alone and €9 if you want to visit the rest of the museum complex as well.

May 09, 2009 at 09:17 PM

Piazza del Popolo
As has already been said, nowadays the Piazza di Spagna-Tridente area - stretching from Piazza del Popolo to Via del Tritone - is not the major neighborhood destination to which Romans flock when they go out to eat at night. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some fine eating places here where one might want to go before or after an evening movie or before or after a day of vigourous shopping. This article includes a series of reviews which will be published this week in Wanted in Rome.

                                      But keep checking back as, from time to time, others will be added.

Piazza di Spagna and the Tridente
May 06, 2009 at 10:57 PM

To be published May 13 in Wanted in Rome
Today's tourists spread out evenly through Rome's historic center, crowding areas such as Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, until recently Via Veneto and, of course, Piazza di Spagna. But in the old days, for visitors - especially those foreign - it was the latter alone, and the streets fanning out from it, horizontally towards Piazza del Popolo and vertically towards Via del Corso, that was considered to be the heart of the city. "There is nothing like it anywhere else,", was the comment of French writer, Henri Stendahl, who visited Rome in the early 19th century.

Veronica pulls the plug; Signora Berlusconi has had enough!
May 04, 2009 at 03:56 PM

Divorce, Berlusconi style
Sometimes a man can go just too far, and although the concept of "too far" may differ from woman to woman, or for that matter from man to man, Veronica Lario, wife of Silvio Berlusconi, doesn't seem to have much doubt that her husband of 19 years (and companion of almost 30 years) has finally overstepped his bounds. On Sunday, two major Italian newspapers announced that she had started separation and divorce proceedings and it seems unlikely that she will change her mind.

Furthermore, today's newspapers carried Berlusconi's rather unequivocal response: he said he felt sorrow but also felt he could be the one to sue for divorce. This was the third time, he said, that his wife had made public accusations against him during an election campaign, he said. She was the victim of a "media trap", he added, believing everything she reads in the newspapers.

And Nero did fiddle .......
Apr 28, 2009 at 01:01 PM
ImageThe proof is in the public debt. Indeed, the latest statistics regarding Italy’s public debt are staggering and more than any other available indicator  tell you – prima facie – how badly governed this country is and has been for much of the last 25 years, if not longer. According to both the Italian national statistics institute,  ISTAT, and the International Monetary Fund, the cumulative Italian budget deficit, which grew last year by almost 20 percent, is now equal to 2.7% of GNP and the public debt amounts to 105% of GNP  and if nothing significant happens (and it is not expected to), at the end of 2009 that figure will rise to 110% of GNP.

Generally speaking, economists say, the public debt should not exceed 60% of GNP so Italy’’s debt is way over the top and  (already) represents  the highest level of ANY DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD  with the single exception of Japan.

Why Rome?
May 01, 2009 at 06:52 PM

Here's why!!!!!!


Pointing the finger at Kebab
Apr 23, 2009 at 10:19 PM

ImageDoner kebab continues to be at the center of many Italian cities' growing attempts to limit night-time noise and un-Italian décor: the problem is that it isn't always easy to know when laws passed, frequently under pressure from the immigration-unfriendly Northern League, have a veiled ethnic or racial content. Indeed, the last few years have seen an enormous growth in the popularity of kebab sandwiches made of meat, lettuce, yogurt and spicy sauces (personally, I prefer my doner kebab on a plate with the warm, juicy meat, tomato and onions spread luciously over pita bread).

Just this week, I saw a news item in a Rome newspaper saying that kebab panini (remember, in Italian it is one panino and two panini) have now overtaken the traditional Roman porchetta sandwich in popularity and is moving up on takeaway pizza as well. The report said that of the 705 "pizzerie" bought or started up between 2004 and 2008, 204 have foreign owners and of these 60% are Middle Eastern style.

Back in the USA
Apr 22, 2009 at 08:23 PM
Image I recently spent two weeks in the U.S. (in New York, first, and then in Sarasota, Florida) after an absence of 15 months and I thought I might recount which were the things that struck me, positively, negatively and neutrally as doing so might, by inverse deduction, give readers a further idea about life in Italy. The short story is that I had a great time and think that the US is a great place. I'm still happy living here in Italy but in addition I love being in Europe - I just came back from a long Easter weekend in Paris, I am going to the South of France in June, to Stockholm and Copenhagen in August and to Petra (Jordan) in the fall. But New York, New York. There's nothing like it.

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