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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.

An occupied theatre. Too much tolerance?

This is one of those typical Italian things that it is hard to make head or tail of. A major theatre in Rome is “occupied” by a group of performers who, if I understand it correctly, were concerned that the theatre might be falling into the wrong hands (private owners) and in June, 2011 took […]

Si? No? Ni?

The tourists are certainly pleased that Rome’s beautiful Piazza di Spagna is now – as of yesterday – closed to traffic, the first step in what is supposed to be a near-total shutdown of the Tridente area – 15 streets included within the three roads leading away from Piazza del Popolo towards Via del Tritone.  […]

Momma. Forget the kisses thrown from the train!

So much for throwing Momma from the train, a kiss, a kiss. Say goodbye to that last-minute embrace. And forget about tipping some guy to help you with your heavy bags. Someday soon – but in Rome you never know what that means – access to the track platforms at Rome’s Stazione Termini will be […]

Rome’s public transport to be (more) bike-friendly

One of the recurring mysteries is why Italian companies continue to use slogans in English in a country where relatively few people know English and where only a very small number actually know it well. No harm done, of course, and “it is fashion” as the Romans say. So when you see the words “bike […]

Caffé della Pace fights for survival

The Caffè della Pace, one of the loveliest bar-cafés in the center of Rome, is fighting to avoid eviction from its premises and has collected thousands of signatures in support of its struggle. The 19th -century café two blocks from Piazza Navona is located in a building owned by the Pontifical Teutonic Institute of the […]

New ruins found in Portuense area

One of the reasons it is so hard to modernize Rome (the others are excess bureacracy, corruption, political deadlocks and plain old inefficiency) is because every time anyone digs below the surface, they come up with anicent ruins that are considered too important to ignore. During work being done on the Via Portuense leading out […]

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 […]

First glimpse of what will be the “new” Coliseum

It will be a while yet until we’ll be able to see what a cleaned up Coliseum will look like but as of now we can have an idea. Yesterday morning, a year after renovation work began, workers removed a portion of scaffolding, thereby revealing the five arcades of the 2000-year old monument that have […]

RomaFringeFestival in full swing

Anyone visiting Rome who is interested in theater et al might want to check out the Rome Fringe Festival 2014 which began on June 7 and continues through July 13 at Villa Mercede, Via Tiburtina 113, in the San Lorenzo neighborhood. For the program go to: News or Calendario Programmazione