s16 s1 s18 s15 s14 s13 The best Bars in Trastevere s10 s8 s7

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.

The end of an era. A sad goodbye.

When I first moved into Piazza S. Egidio 14, years and years ago, the storefront downstairs was an old coffee-bar and a latteria, that is, a place where you could get fresh milk every day that was run by a slow-moving, grey-haired man named Umberto. It then became a more chic establishment named Il Mago […]

Say it in Italian, please

Italians (with the exception of Mussolini, perhaps) have never been chauvinists. Unlike the French, they have never tried to ban the use of foreign words, forcing people to call ordinataire what almost the entire world knows as a computer. But, says a small group of purists here, enough is enough. And they are right. Using […]

New Rome bus tickets now on sale

Starting March 1, the Italian transport company, ATAC, is making available three new types of city public transport tickets, those lasting 24, 48 and 72 hours. The usual BIT ticket (€1.5) that is valid for 100 minutes and the CIS (valid until midnight of the seventh day after being stamped has now been joined by […]

Earthquakes abound but are geologists becoming extinct?

Which country in Europe has the most earthquakes? Italy. Which country in Europe has the most landslides? Italy. And which country is failing to produce qualified geologists at the highest rate? You guessed it. Italy. These questions were posed, recently, on the front page of the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, by one of its […]

Rampage by Dutch hooligans leads to blame-game in Rome

Lots of finger-pointing going here on after the shameful behavior by rampaging, drunk Dutch soccer hooligans, whose rioting in Rome’s famous Piazza di Spagna ended in irreparable damage to Bernini’s marble “Barcaccia”. The not-very popular mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, understandably upset by the inability of Italian police to isolate the offenders and stop their […]

Italy a dying country? It’s not only numbers that count!

Italian health minister Beatrice Lorenzin, whom by the way I generally consider a pretty sharp lady, says Italy’s lowest number ever of live births means the country is “dying” and that something must be done. I’m not so sure that there is anything really new about this nor whether it is really Italy’s biggest problem […]

Rome city police, the “vigili”, cause traffic jams. Huh????

Vigili urbani, the Italian expression for city police officers, are supposed to be vigilant. Rome city police are, as a whole, anything but and are regarded with scorn by a large part of the city population. However, on February 12, they reached the height (depths?) of paradox when 10,000 of them staged a massive demonstration in […]

Concordia captain let off too lightly. Shame, shame!

I am not one of those people who delight in lambasting the Italian justice system at every turn (except for its excruciating slowness, of which I myself have been a victim). But to sentence the Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, to only 16 years in jail appears totally ridiculous. Thirty-two people died in the January 2012 […]

Putting their money where their mouth is….

Hurrah for Pope Francis’ Vatican which has now set up a free daily shower service (Sundays excluded) for Rome’s homeless people and this right behind the gloriously columned arcades build by Renaissance architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. And that’s not all. Starting on February 16, and on every following Monday, volunteers working for the […]

Rome to have red light section?

Hard to believe, but the Rome city government is planning, for the first time ever, to create a red light district here in Rome, probably on one street in the EUR area of Rome which is already inundated by half-naked prostitutes selling their wares. The experiment, to begin in April of this year,  is being […]

All Holes Lead to Rome

This was the headline on a story in today’s Il Tempo, one of Rome’s two major dailies, but it’s an issue that’s been on the minds of many of us for some time now, particularly if your vehicle is, like mine, of the two-wheeled variety. Rome’s streets have been a mess for some time now, […]

Italy elects new Italian president

Sergio Mattarella, a jurist and former Christian Democrat politician, was elected today as Italy’s new President of the Republic by an overwhelming majority of the 995 “grand electors” – members of both houses of parliament together with representatives of the country’s 20 regions. Mattarella, 73, succeeds President Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned his office on January […]