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.


Dioxin emergency threatens mozzarella
Mar 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Image The ongoing garbage emergency in the Campania region of Italy, may have claimed it's first "victim": the succulent white cheese known as buffalo mozzarella. An investigation into possible dioxin contamination and spiralling rumors have led to a stop on imports of that Italian delicacy by two Asian countries, a 24-hour ban by the French, stepped up controls by other European countries and to a demand  by the European Union for greater clarification within 48 hours from the Italian government.

Villa Adriana: gloriosa residenza imperiale in mezzo alle brutture.
Mar 30, 2008 at 11:31 PM
ImageA volte non si riesce a capire come certe amministrazioni locali trascurano le ricchezze del passato, ricchezze vere in quanto il turismo è uno dei primi motori della vostra economia. L'altro giorno sono stata, per la prima volta in forse cinque o sei anni in visita a Villa Adriana. Era una giornata splendida, finalmente, dopo tanta pioggia e freddo e le rovine (secondo secolo), viste tra pini marittimi, alberi vari e fiorellini primaverili, e con lo sfondo di un cielo stra-azzurro, erano bellissime. Ma sono stata colpita, in modo più che negativo, dalla bruttezza dei dintorni di quella che è riconosciuta da tutti come la più grande e la più splendida delle ville imperiali romane e la quale dal 1999 fa parte della World Heritage List (Patrimonio Mondiale) dell'Unesco.

Alitalia: victim of poor government and short-sighted unions
Mar 23, 2008 at 04:11 PM

ImageThe fate of Alitalia, Italy's floundering national airline, already put on the line by the country's recalcitrant unions, now appears to be caught up in the country's increasingly acrimonious election campaign. With the airline reportedly only weeks away from bankruptcy, and with tough negotiations scheduled for next week between Italy's unions and officials of Air France-KLM which has a buy offer on the table, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who hopes to win next month's vote and return to power, claims he can put together a consortium of Italian financiers, possibly including his own children, willing and capable to improve on the Franco-Dutch offer.

Woman (it's a first!) to run manufacturers' body
Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17 AM
Emma Marcegaglia
For the first time in it's 98 years of history, the Italian National Association of Manufacturers has chosen a woman as its president. On Friday, Emma Marcegaglia, 42, was elected president of Confindustria with 99.2% of the vote to succeed Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. She will take office on May 21st and like many other women here is hoping the symbolic value of her election will help propel tradition-bound Italian women into the 21st century.

Comeuppance: Mastella insegna
Mar 17, 2008 at 09:23 AM
ImageComeuppance (pronunciato cum-up-pans) è una bella parola americana che si usa poco e che risale, a quanto pare, a circa il 1859, venendo si dice dalla frase "come up", presentarsi, davanti al giudice, e vuol dire in parole semplici, avere ciò che si merita. E' il caso, direi, di Clemente Mastella, artefice della crisi politica attuale, e per il momento, al meno, più o meno bandito dalla politica attiva. La destra, leggi Berlusconi, non l'ha voluto, E anche Casini, il suo ex socio fondatore di partito, il CCD gli ha voltato le spalle, come anche altri. Cosicché alla fine ha rinunciato perfino a presentarsi per le prossime elezioni, accontentandosi, almeno così dicono i giornali, della generosissima pensione parlamentare.

Election (Italian) Diary
Mar 16, 2008 at 09:25 AM
ImageWe in the U.S. have got our own election campaign to worry about, but some of you may be interested in what's going on politically on this side of the Atlantic. As the campaign for the April 13-14 Italian national election heats up, the major contenders are rushing to seize on their rivals' weaknesses. This past week, for example, the press was full of leftwing indignation over Silvio Berlusconi's latest ill-conceived attempt at humor. There are conflicting claims about how the various parties are doing in the polls, bitter arguments about candidacies, little talk about programs and a - as everywhere - examples of individual stupidity.

Zebra stripes, Italian style
Mar 14, 2008 at 03:24 PM
ImageCrossing the street in Italy is no easy job, and it's not only because Italian drivers and motorcyclists are so undisciplined and erratic. The fact is, that the zebra stripes that are supposed to mark a pedestrian crossing - a place where there is no traffic light - where pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way are exactly the same as the stripes used in Italian cities to denote a crossing where there is a functioning traffic light. This inexplicable state of affairs is clearly a source of enormous confusion for foreign tourists, who can be seen risking their lives by assuming that they always have the right of way on the stripes. So here's the rule. If there is a functioning traffic light, that takes precedence - always - over the stripes. In other words, don't cross - ever - on the red. If there is no traffic light, or if it is broken or flashing yellow, you can then assume you, the pedestrian, are supposed to have the right of way. But don't count on it and be very, very careful.

Italians on tax evaders list. So what else is new?
Mar 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM
        Dolce and Gabbana are only the latest celebrities to come under the scrutiny of the Fisco as Italians call their tax man. So when recent headlines screamed: "Italians among Liechtenstein tax evaders" , as if it were unprecedented that the names of Italian citizens would show up on the list of putative tax evaders that the German government has gotten a hold of (reportedly at great expense) from an archivist at Liechtenstein Group Lgt, one had to raise an eyebrow (or two). So? Allora? What else is new? Perhaps the only surprising thing was that Italy's outgoing deputy minister of Finance, Vincenzo Visco, was quoted by various Italian papers as describing the list of 400 still unknown names as "very interesting" in that, he reportedly said, it reflected an interesting slice of Italian society, containing people who were very rich and people who were less so, all united of course in their desire to hide income.
Valzer di nomi; non se ne può più
Mar 04, 2008 at 12:59 PM
Image Non sono cittadina italiana e quindi non posso andare alle urne, ma forse è meglio così. Oltre al problema di capire i veri contenuti politici dei partiti in lizza, ho un problema enorme con il continuo valzer di nomi a cui siamo sottoposti. E suppongo che se sia confusa io, che una volta seguivo la politica italiana per motivi di studio, prima, e di professione, poi, che devono essere molto confusi anche gli elettori italiani "normali", cioè quelle persone per cui la politica non è il pane quotidiano ma che comunque quando ascoltano la TV o aprono un giornale si trovano costretti a navigare in una giungla di sigle e simboli che spesso sono incomprensibili.

Political merry-go-round: Let me off!
Mar 05, 2008 at 07:21 PM

Image I'm not an Italian citizen so I don't vote here, but at this point I think that it's all for the best. In a country with something like 16 parties represented in parliament (not to mention all the others that don't make it), it's hard enough to figure out whom you would want to represent you. But, frankly, I have an enormous problem with the merry-go-round of continual name changes by Italy's political parties. And it seems to me that if this is confusing to me, a person who has spent much of her adult life (first as a student, then as a journalist) following Italian politics, what about all those normal voters, the ones who do not think about politics day and night and cannot possibly keep up with the jungle of incomprehensible acronyms, logos, and symbols that Italians are bombarded with by TV and newspapers, and not only at election time.

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