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Italy is a fascinating country, but an infuriating one as well. As someone who has now spent more than half of her life here, much of which was spent working as a foreign correspondent and later as a reporter for an Italian newspaper, I feel that I know the country inside and out. The purpose of this blog, which I set up to accompany the book of the same name I wrote in 2013, is to report and comment on facts, events, proposals and even rumors. I hope you enjoy it.

Authorities cracking down on absenteeism? We’ll see.

It’s amazing. Despite the fact that in recent years people have frequently gotten caught in very-well publicized investigations at post offices and ministries, a huge number of Italian public employees are apparently still convinced they can get away with it. Not murder, of course, but absenteeism taken to ridiculous extremes. This time it happened at […]

Funiculi, funicula. Oh, give me a break!

I guess I missed this during last spring’s mayoral election campaign here in Rome, but it seems the mayoress (she stupidly has insisted on being called “sindaca” which is not an Italian word – the word is sindaco and can just as easily refer to a woman as a man) is going ahead with her […]

Too much English, but not on Italian tongues.

Did you know that your Italian health service doctor can now send you a prescription for a Class A pharmaceutical even if you are out of town? Yes, indeed. And it’s quite convenient with only one element of absurdity. Here we are in Italy, speaking and reading the language of Dante, and this new online […]

For Rome’s new mayor, an uphill road.

Italy’s new young mayor, Virginia Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement party (M5S), earlier this month managed to convince a majority of Roman voters that a new broom will really sweep clean. But, boy oh boy, is she going to have her work cut out for her. Raggi, soon to be 38, a […]

For Rome’s new mayor, an uphill road

Italy’s new young mayor, Virginia Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement party (M5S), earlier this month managed to convince a majority of Roman voters that a new broom will really sweep clean. But, boy oh boy, is she going to have her work cut out for her. Raggi, soon to be 38, a […]

New Rome mayor faces an uphill battle

Italy’s new, young mayor, Virginia Raggi, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement party (M5S), earlier this month managed to convince a majority of Roman voters that a new broom will really sweep clean. But, boy oh boy, is she going to have her work cut out for her. Raggi, soon to be 38, a […]

Seeing will be believing

Raise your hand if you have ever seen someone in Rome get a fine for not picking up after his or her dog, or for letting it run free without a leash. Raise your hand if you have ever gotten a ticket for double-parking your car (I got one recently when I ran into a […]

La scoperta di acqua calda

The Italians use the above expression – the discovery of hot water – when they want to poke fun at importance given to something that to most people is pretty obvious. This is what many of us could say about the recent announcement that voting for both this June’s local elections and next October’s popular […]

The last of Italy’s postwar giants is dead

Marco Pannella, the founder of the Italian Radical Party and a long-time warrior for civil rights in Italy and elsewhere, died yesterday at the age of 86. Many young Italians of today probably don’t even know who he was. Or, if they do know his name, they may have come away with an image of […]

Will cyclist’s death be first Italian case of vehicular homicide?

It could be a first test case for Italy’s new law which makes some vehicle deaths into homicide. Yesterday, a 52-year old Roman woman driving a SUV hit a group of cyclists pedaling along the Via Aurelia outside the city. One of them died and the another two are in intensive care. To make things worse, […]

Not a perk? Well, we’ll just make it one.

It seems ridiculous, but the new management of the cafe inside the Chamber of Deputies has had to take drastic action. For the first time since 2006 when the sign one sees in many Italian coffee bars – Please get your receipt before ordering –  was first posted at the buvette of Montecitorio, the pay-first […]

Absenteeism and other bad behavior by Italian civil servants costs Italy millions

From time to time in Italy, an event leads the press, the politicians and, to a lesser degree, public opinion, to run wild over this or that issue. Generally, this interest runs its course and ends more often than not in “un bel niente”, nothing. It will be interesting to see if this is what […]