For the ancient Greeks and Romans, the image of Priapus represented the origin of life itself, plus good luck and business success. Now, during consolidation work at Pompeii, archaeologists discovered a fresco painting of Priapus, weighing on a scale his huge phallus against a pile of coins.
The record left by Sergio Marchionne, for 14 years the head of what is now Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is indelible. But in the outpouring of admiring obituaries are a few unanswered questions. Marchionne, 66, died July 25 in a hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, of two heart attacks in the wake of a operation on his shoulder.
Chairman & CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne's condition is "irreversible," according to the hospital in Zurich where he is in intensive care. And on July 21 Fiat Chrysler chairman, John Elkann, 42, wrote a wistful semi-obituary letter to the company's 236,000 employees, reminding them that it was Marchionne's "intellect, perseverance and leadership that saved Fiat."
The city identified with Olivetti, the manufacturer of office machines since it was founded in 1896, is Italy's 54th to be accorded World Heritage status by UNESCO. For Adriano Olivetti, factory owners were to respect the workers' whole life, and not only the assembly line
In Italian the word "bufala" means, not mamma buffalo, as in "mozzarella di bufala," but a "whopper" or, in today's jargon, fake news. No less than anywhere else, bufala whoppers are roaming through the news ranges of Italy.
For most of us, Roberto Saviano, 39, is one of Italy's great modern heroes. The author of the gangland investigative book and movie "Gomorrah" has lived under armed escort for 11 years, but has tangled with the new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, with literally grave risks to his life..
It is no surprise that anti-immigrant rhetoric is a vote getter. Latest opinion polls show that the Lega of Matteo Salvini, just now threatening to expel the Romani ethnic people, or Roma, has overtaken Luigi Di Maio's Movimento Cinque Stelle, even though in national general elections only three months ago the Five Stars won 15% more than the Lega.
Drawings and paintings by child migrants from an exhibition opening this week at Rome's National Gallery of Modern Art
When 629 migrants were en route by sea to Italy on June 10, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared that no Italian port could accept them. "Saving lives is a duty, but turning Italy into Europe's refugee camp, no," he stated. Spain is to take them in, but the EU is splintered on this.
In a globalized world it is hardly surprising that foreign affairs occupy more political space than ever before. In particular, the new Italian government's overture to Putin's Russia stirs up a hornet's nest.