Rome mayor makes new enemies

Rome’s current mayor, Ignazio Marino, is not popular, except perhaps among some city planners and archeologists. He has angered merchants for closing several key streets around the Colosseum to traffic; he has been unable to get rid of illegal vendors, has failed in keeping the city clean and in improving public transport. Now he will […]

More grandstanding by an unpopular mayor?

Yesterday, Rome’s unpopular “first citizen”, Ignazio Marino officially registered 16 gay marriages celebrated abroad by homosexual Rome residents. The mayor’s act will have no legal effect, because tomorrow, if not today, the prefect of Rome, the government’s representative in legal matters, is expected to nullify Marino’s act, that is to strike it off the books. […]

Genoa flooded again

This is what happens when governments – local and national – fail to act. Three years after one of the most disastrous floods it has known, the Italian city of Genoa and manyof the surrounding smaller towns, are covered in mud. There were, fortunately, few fatalities but enormous damages to private and public property. After […]

Another never-ending Roman story

Another never-ending Roman story: what do about the city’s cobblestones, known as sanpietrini because they were first used in the 1700s to pave Piazza S. Pietro. Some people love’em, some people – especially motorists and cyclists hate them   –  but any way you look at it, deciding what to do about them is a politically […]

Great news. A “voice” sings again.

Great news. The Alari (1686)- Priori (1884) organ in Rome’s marvelous San Pietro in Vincoli church  has got its voice back after 50 years of silence. A long and expensive restoration culminated yesterday (wish I’d known about it beforehand) in what appears to have been a marvelous concert. It’s not clear now how often the […]

Rome’s new (ugly) drinking fountains

Anyone who has already been to Rome is familiar with the traditional “nasone”, the four-feet tall, grey, lead column-shaped water fountains that were first placed in Rome in 1874 by the city government in order to provide drinking water to any thirsty citizen. Now the  260 “big noses”  inside the old city walls will have […]

Is the waiting worth it? I say yes.

Many Italians complain about their national health service (SSN) but from the American point of view it is often enviable. Everyone has their own health service doctor whom they can see without charge (a home visit instead costs something), many pharmaceuticals are free of charge as is Emergency care and the state, or rather the […]

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 […]

Sistine Chapel to return to “daylight”

In 1980, the Vatican Museum decided to wall up the windows of the Sistine chapel to make sure that the daylight did not further damage the wonderful frescoes revealed to the world on October 31, 1512. Now, the Museum has found a way to bring daylight back into this marvelous hall, sort of. Some 7,000 […]

Snack-truck and outfoor table wars are unending

Ask just about anyone (except for the owners of the snack-trucks featured in this article) and they will agree that the vans selling (mostly to tourists) sodas, water, hot dogs and sandwiches are eye-sores and have no business parking in places that block the view of this city’s beautiful ancient monuments. But so far the […]