Every four minutes…..

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government has been trying to convince the country   –  especially Italy’s unions – that new modifications to Italian labor laws (the one’s that limit a company’s freedom to fire excess personnel) are a must. But while the arguing goes on – with it now looking like the young premier will have […]

The wettest summer in 35 years

Finally, a real summer day and I am heading off to the beach. This summer, these unblemished sunny days have been a relative rarity at least in Rome and much of northern Italy. The fact is that this has been just about the wettest summer for 35 years with an understandably negative effect both on […]

Summer in Italy, never a dull moment (2)

Along with cultural activities such as concerts, outdoor film screenings and lectures, Italy’s towns – in particular the smaller ones – dedicated much of the summer months  (but the season can run from April to October) to what are generally called “sagre”, a word that was originally coined to describe some kind of an event […]

Italians gearing up for the Ferragosto holiday

I’m about to rush off to the Coop to buy some chicken as my contribution to a Ferragosto barbecue tomorrow in the countryside near lake Bolsena where I am spending most of my summer. Ferragosto is the biggest Italian summer holiday, actually the only one, and the week preceding it is the week in which, […]

Sites re-opened at Pompeii

Ten buildings in Pompeii have reopened to the public as of August 4; they include eight domus (upper-class homes) and a bath complex,  with a caldarium and frigidarium as well as a changing room where there are sixteen panels with depictions of erotic scenes, including one portraying two women, almost unique in Roman painting, The […]

No travel abroad for Berlusconi (at least for now)

An administrative court in the Lazio region today rejected requests by Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers to get his passport back and be able to travel outside of Italy. The court, the Lazio TAR, said that since the former prime minister’s year-long sentence for tax fraud is still underway, he was not allowed to leave Italian territory. […]

Concordia leaves on final voyage

This ship has (finally) sailed. This morning the wreck of the Costa Concordia giant cruise ship steamed slowly out of the gulf of Giglio Island off the Tuscan coast on it’s final voyage to the port of Genoa where it will be dismantled. The sea journey of the hulking wreck, pushed by tug boats onits […]

A surprise acquittal for Mr. B.

What a surprise! Yesterday, a Milan appeals court overturned a lower court’s conviction of former premier and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi for paying for sex with an underage prostitute and strong-arming court officials into releasing her when she subsequently was arrested for theft. The verdict by a three-judge panel thus cancelled the seven-year prison term […]

Concordia cruise ship floats again

Italian and American  naval engineers today began refloating the giant Concordia cruise ship, freeing it from the reef on which it ran aground in April, 2012 in a partial shipwreck that took the lives of 32 passengers and crew. After closing waters around the island of Giglio where the Costa cruise line ship has lain […]