Italy’s Couchsurfing Policeman

Dear Blog Readers, I am in the city of Padua in northern Italy where today I was covering the trial of the couchsurfing policeman, Dino Maglio.  In the first day of the fast-track trial, the prosecutor asked for Maglio to be sent to prison for 7 years and 4 months for drugging and raping a […]

The Dinghy Debate

Dear Blog Readers – With fears of terrorists hopping on boats and crossing the Mediterranean, suddenly Italy – which has been pulling migrants out of the sea by the thousands over the past year – is witnessing a strong backlash against migrants. This weekend the leader of the right-wing anti-Euro, anti-Migrant Northern League led a […]

Cobblestones, Car Chases and a Bond Woman

Rome has been in a Bond tizzy this past week as the cast and crew of the latest Bond movie “Spectre” have descended on the Eternal city. We’ve had a silver Aston Martin with license plate DB10 AGB bouncing over the cobblestones and racing up the steep embankment wall of the Tiber River chased by […]

The Outrageous, Divine Marquise

February 21, 2015
By | in Italian Culture | 26 Comments

Once upon a time there was a bizarre lady living in Venice who wore her pet boa constrictor around her neck, walked her cheetahs on a leash in St. Mark’s Square with her Nubian servant Garbi following behind holding a peacock feather parasol over her head. She was the Marquise Luisa Casati, a flamboyant, extravagant […]

Sumptuous Balls and Flying Angels

Dear Blog Readers, Last week I went for four days to Venice to cover the official launch of the Carnival season. For Venetians the Carnival season opens on January 7th after the Feast of the Epiphany. But the official launch of Carnival festivities begins with the Flight of the Angel when a beautiful, young woman […]

Vatican & Women: Priests and Plastic Surgery

The Vatican Pontifical Council of Culture is holding a plenary this week on “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference”. Unfortunately, in its first step on the project the Vatican tripped and fell flat on its face. They issued a video calling for contributions from women starring an Italian TV actress, Nancy Brilli, who looked like she […]

An Elaborate Election in Italy

This week my colleagues and I have focused our attention on several elegant brown and gold wicker baskets, with green satin cloth on the inside, and Italian tri-color ribbons and delicate locks and chains on the outside. Into these baskets, 1009 Italian electors – mostly members of parliament—have been placing their ballots for the Italian […]

Super Hooper and “The Italians”

January 19, 2015
By | in Art and Life | 19 Comments

A few weeks ago, someone at Viking Books asked me if I would be willing to review John Hooper’s book The Italians on my blog. John Hooper is one of the most talented and experienced journalists living and working in Rome.  He writes for “The Guardian” and “The Economist”; he has worked in Madrid and […]