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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.

Italians behaving badly. Influx of immigrants bringing out the worst in some people.

Okay, so the residents of Casale San Nicola on the north side of Rome, between La Storta and Olgiata (if I’ve got it right) are worried. Some 250 families in an area that according to press reports  has it’s own problems, fear that housing some 100  immigrants and refugees (mostly black you can bet) in a former school […]

Has Rome’s mayor won at least one battle? Tomorrow will tell.

A Rome administrative court, the TAR, this week ruled that the city of Rome is within its rights to ask licensed peddlers to move their trucks and stands away from the Eternal City’s archeological monuments by this Friday, July 10. The camion-bar – small refreshment trucks− and souvenir stands have continued to set up shop […]

Lucrezia Borgia: an icon of style of the Renaissance.

This event (July 26) on the grounds of the Castello Orsini in Vasanello (Lazio) promises to be as delightful as the others organized by Patricia Brennan and her InConnection associazione culturale (www.inconnection.it).   Elisabetta Gnignera, well-known expert on Renaissance headdresses will be speaking followed by dinner all fresco.  Last Sunday it was delightful baroque music by Evangelina […]

Is Fiumicino Airport at Risk? Report shows inappropriate building materials may have been used.

Three months ago, Terminal 3 of Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport (aka Fiumicino) suffered serious damages when faulty electrical connections caused a raging fire to break out and burn throughout the night. The repercussions have created significant organization problems for the terminal, which handles a huge chunk of international traffic (although not that going to […]

Fallout from May fire putting Fiumicino traffic – and Italian tourism − at risk.

After ongoing uncertainties about possible health problems caused by a severe fire at Terminal 3 in May, the Italian Civil Aviation Board (ENAC) has decided to reduce air traffic at Fiumicino airport by 40% for the foreseeable future. Coming just as the tourist season is moving into high gear, visitors can expect significant check-in delays […]

Restored fountains at famed intersection merit a visit

A couple of months late, I finally got to go downtown to gape at the recently restored and water-spewing Quattro Fontane, the four god (and goddesses) fountains sculpted at the end of the 16th century in niches at the four corners of the intersection between Rome’s Via XX Settembre and Via delle Quattro Fontane and […]

Trastevere travails

This morning while putting out today’s garbage – plastic, cans and glass –  on the street as required, I checked out the compost bin inside our building and yet once again found that someone had dumped a bag of unseparated garbage, ignoring the bilingual warnings not to discard anything there but food remains. No plastic. […]

The Metro C – a work (very, very slowly) in progress

  Well, I hope you all have a lot of patience (and a lot of lifetime left) because the latest reports say that the Coliseum metro station that will allow the new Rome subway C line (see the Green line above)  to bring people to the Roman Forums and to intersect with the older B […]

No smoking in Rome’s parks this summer. Right or wrong? Useful or not?

My favorite mayor, the generally-inept Ignazio Marino, may win kudos from environmentalists now that he has ordered anything involving fire – barbecues, firecrackers, explosives and now pipes, cigars and cigarettes – to be banned from all of Rome’s parks this summer. The barbecues were already off bounds last summer, as were fires set to burn […]

Are there any dress codes in Rome?

  Have a look around and the answer (a resounding “no) will become immediately clear. Some time ago, Romans, and many other Italians as well, decided to emulate us Americans and go casual, and they have done so with a vengeance, although men and women have chosen different routes (more about the ladies in a […]

Divorce, Italian Style, version 2015. New law significantly shortens waiting times.

When I first moved to Italy in 1972, divorce in a limited form – after three years of legal separation and obligatory attempts at reconciliation − had been introduced only two years prior. The influence of the Church was such that before 1970, unhappily-married  Italians could get a legal separation but could never get remarried. […]

Surprise! Pope says no to France’s allegedly homosexual ambassador

What was Francois Hollande thinking? Did the French president really think the Vatican was going to accredit a diplomat believed to be homosexual as France’s new ambassador to the Holy See? Pope Francis may be a reformer on some issues – I mean, it was downright incredible that earlier this year he told Filipino Catholics […]