Rose Petals Raining on Rome

August 22, 2015
By | in Italian Culture | 16 Comments

Rose petals launched from a low-flying helicopter fluttered down from the sky over hundreds of teary-eyed friends of an alleged criminal clan boss on Thursday at a funeral in Rome. The casket arrived in an elaborate black carriage with gold trimmings fit for Cinderella. Six black horses with black plumed headdresses pulled the carriage, as […]

Being Berlusconi – Italy’s Donald Trump

July 29, 2015
By | in Italian Culture | 26 Comments

As American businessman Donald Trump steals the US election campaign show, dominating the press coverage and moving to the top of the polls among Republicans in the primary, many American intellectuals are asking how this buffoon can be so successful. Frank Bruni, New York Times op-ed writer and former correspondent in Rome, recently wrote a […]

The Toilet Paper War

It all started on a Tuesday morning at 7am a few weeks ago when I went into the bathroom and discovered there was no toilet paper. I sleepily shuffled over to the other bathroom where my Italian husband was shaving and knocked on the door and said: “Hey, can you hand me out some toilet […]

La Scivolata

May 31, 2015
By | in Italian Culture | 22 Comments

It was with a certain pleasure that my husband, Professor of Economics at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, handed me the newspaper today and said, “I think you might want to do a blog post on this letter to the editor written by an economist colleague of mine.” He knows me so well. I […]

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 […]

Rome’s Middle World

December 9, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 18 Comments

“There are the living above and the dead below, and we are in the middle.  And that means that there is a world, the middle world in which everyone meets.” – Massimo Carminati As posters for the latest “Hobbit” film were being splashed on billboards across Rome last week, police launched operation “Mafia Capital” in […]

The Tempting Gondolier

August 2, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 24 Comments

Dear Blog Readers — I am on vacation in the US with little access to the internet and a decidedly lazy attitude towards blogging.  Luckily for me, a blog reader named Kay read two of my earlier posts “Italian Men: Masters in Seduction” and “Italian Men: SPLAT” and decided to share her hilarious story about […]

Excommunicating Mobsters Is Not That Simple

In June Pope Francis travelled to Calabria in the toe of the boot of Italy.  Calabria is home to the powerful ‘Ndrangheta Mafia (see blog posts: “The Catholic Church and the Mafia” and “Mafia Claws Sinking into Weak Flesh“).  There, speaking to hundreds of thousands of people, the Pope said, “The ‘Ndrangheta and this adoration […]