In both the good times and the bad, the Sanremo Festival is an institution which Italians love almost as much as spaghetti and Michelangelo. One out of every three Italians watches the grand finale of the Sanremo Song Festival, now in its 67th year.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced that Palermo was voted Culture Capital of Italy for 2018. For the honor Palermo bested Trento, Aquileia, Montebelluna, Settimo Torinese, Comacchio, Recanati, Ercolano, Alghero and the twin townships of Erice and Elimo in Eastern Sicily.
In the final, clipped sentence of its ruling Jan. 25, the Constitutional Court cleared the way for national general elections to be held, even this spring, one year ahead of the formal end of the legislature. Those jubilant over the decision included Matteo Renzi, Beppe Grillo and Matteo Salvini.
A new ISTAT report shocked many here for its showing that one out of every five Italians never, ever reads a newspaper or a book, or attends a cultural event of any kind. On the other hand, it means that four out of five Italians do participate in the nation's vibrant cultural life, beginning with museums.
For Venetian Prefect Carlo Boffi, "Migration is the problem of problems for Italy and the EU -- an extremely complex problem of Biblical dimensions." Nevertheless it is heartening to see that kind hearts can still prevail.
For better and sometimes for worse, 2016 had its memorable moments. Given the importance of the arts in Italy, among the events of the year listed below are also major art exhibitions and performances of grand opera.
Peek into Santa's personal Italian backpack, and you will find not only a few year-ender gifts, but also a calender sketching out events for the year ahead. The most serious: national general elections.