The Catholic Church and the Mafia

March 23, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 14 Comments

The relationship between the Catholic Church and the Mafia is so convoluted, fraught with stereo-types, and misperceptions that it is hard to figure out what is the truth.  Films like “The Godfather” reinforce the image of a Catholic Church that has provided collaboration and support for the Mafia, Mafia bosses who baptize their children in […]


The Changing Colors of Italy

March 1, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 26 Comments

Jagjit with his bushy white moustache and large green turban cheerfully organizes a pile of lettuce on his vegetable stand at the sprawling Piazza Vittorio marketplace in Rome as he explains to me that he came to Italy from Punjab state in India 20 years ago. Not far from Jagjit, Diana from Ecuador is selling […]


Super Pope Francis!

January 29, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 6 Comments

Sometimes a photo is worth a blog post by itself.  This photo of Pope Francis as Super Pope was taken by my friend, AP Photographer Gregorio Borgia.  It is right down the street from the Vatican on the corner of Borgo Pio, a neighborhood of old houses and tiny cobblestone streets.  The graffiti was done […]


Mafia Claws Sinking into Weak Flesh

January 25, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 9 Comments

The claws of the Camorra Mafia are sinking into the soft decadent flesh of Rome, easing their way deeper and making it impossible for the eternal city to break free.   With confidence and impunity, the Contini clan of the Camorra has set up camp in the heart of the historic center of Rome, taking positions […]


Courageous Cecile

January 17, 2014
By | in Italian Culture | 13 Comments

Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister, is once again facing vicious racist attacks. This week it started with the anti-immigrant Northern League party’s newspaper “Padania” starting a new column “Here’s Cecile Kyenge” which lists her public appearances so that party members can go heckle her. This feature appeared after she was harassed last weekend at […]


Sexy Boxers and a Whip for Christmas?

December 18, 2013
By | in Italian Culture | 11 Comments

Dear Blog Readers — the following post is a contribution from one of my Italian blog readers, Isabella Isola, who wrote to me and asked me if I would publish her message. It is her thoughts about some items on sale for Christmas at a famous Italian Lingerie shop (similar to Victoria’s Secret in the […]


The Italians are Coming

September 28, 2013
By | in Italian Culture | 21 Comments

As my loyal blog readers know, once in a while I cannot resist the temptation to post an amusing advertisement that plays on stereotypes that foreigners have about Italians, and in this case some stereotypes about Americans.  I was not aware of this one until an Italian journalist, Federico Rampini (see blog post Enlightened at […]


A Hot Italian to Sauce Up Your Summer

August 5, 2013
By | in Italian Culture | 28 Comments

Dear Blog Readers — It is summer-time and I am getting a bit slap-happy so forgive me if you think I am being immature.  My blogger buddy Adri of AdriBarrCrocetti.com sent me the Bertoli Olive Oil advertisement that plays on all sorts of silly stereo-types of Italian men (and perhaps the anti-hero there is either American […]