Lavishly praised throughout the English-speaking world and somewhat more controversial at home, Neapolitan author Elena Ferrante is a literary phenomenon whose identity is an enigma. Her name is a pseudonym, and the author has chosen to keep his/her identity an enigma. For whatever reason, Ferrante is never photographed, never interviewed in person, but solely and occasionally by email.
Among the the European Union's 28 members, all but Italy and a handful of East European countries do not yet recognize civil unions, and the EU has been prodding Italy toward taking action. This Thursday the Italian Parliament begins debate on a divisive bill that would make civil unions fully legal, over Catholic opposition.
The problems related to migration still capture headlines, but Italy is successfully spearheading the European Union toward revision of its outmoded ruling that migrants apply for asylum solely in the country of first entry. Migration compensates for the declining birth rate, and migrants also have success stories.
After a wave of scandals dubbed “Mafia Capital” has forced the mayor of
Rome to resign, a police chief from Milan will tend city hall until new elections in city hall next year. In this, some see Rome as the “immoral capital” of Italy, and Milan, its moral capital. True or not, shaped by diverse history and geography, each city in its way is profoundly Italian
Traditionalism is among the delights of Italy, where family and social customs that date back centuries continue to be honored. But even the most traditional society changes over time, and in 2016 Italy shows signs of coming of age in many respects, from civil unions to migrants and mascara.
Babbo Natale aka Santa Claus is obiquitous, lying atop apartment rooftops, dangling from balconies and, in animated doll form, dancing in front of cafes. But the authentic, made-in-Italy Italian Christmas creche, the "presepe," is alive and well throughout the land. Not only is it a religious tradition, but also a way to "bring back the enjoyment and pride in our roots."
Italian women have come a long way. Back in the autumn of 1973, as a reporter I attended the first meetings of the first non-political party women's movement in Rome. A lot has happened since then, from a successful divorce referendum to women on the soccer field and in major careers. But there is still room for improvement.
Italy has always loomed as a bastion of "la mamma" -- that pasta-cooking, loving and forceful woman exemplified by the mother and retired teacher in Nanni Moretti's recent movie, "Mia Madre." But there is more to the story. Here is a sampler of fascinating, successful Italian career women, some famous names, others new to many readers.
On Nov. 15 beautiful Moira Orfei died in Brescia at age 84, plunging many Italians into a special kind of nostalgic mourning. A circus kid, she flew on a trapeze, appeared in 34 films and had two children. As her life shows, Italian women star in an huge variety of fields, from politics to cinema, haute cuisine. Here in Part I we begin to meet a few who go well beyond the traditional image of "la mamma." With Elena Cattaneo, Nadia Santini, Roberta Pinotti, Lina Wertmuller, Maria Teresa Salvemini Ristuccia
In the usually jam-packed St. Peter's square Wednesday, a surprisingly low number attended the pontiff's general audience. As this indicates, although less vulnerable than France or Belgium, Italy and the independent state of the Vatican are also at risk of terror attacks, but are taking precautionary measures.