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.
The current political, fiscal and constitutional crisis in Rome, the most serious since the murder of Aldo Moro forty years ago, can only gather steam with the calling of new elections.
With the collapse risk of its Palace of Justice and the results of the last administrative elections, the city of Bari in the meantime becomes the mirror of the current Italian political plight.
The new elections set for June 10 will be a test of things to come.
Final ratification of a new government requires the approval of President Sergio Mattarella and then a vote in Parliament. Meanwhile, a close reading of the Constitution spells out a new premier's responsibilities.
Until lunchtime Wednesday Italy seemed to be plunging into the year's second round of national general elections. But in a surprising turnabout, Silvio Berlusconi dropped his opposition to a populist government of the Five Star movement and the Lega. The irony is that "what couldn't be done in two months was in a couple of hours."
Sixty days after national general elections in Italy, no government is in sight despite long and tense negotiations among the parties. As the politicians' tempers flare, the long-suffering President Sergio Mattarella is left to seek a way out of the impasse.
On April 21 Rome celebrates its official birthday, 2,771 years after the city's legendary founding by Romulus in 753 BC. For the occasion a parade of 2,000 in costume -- gladiators, politicians, priestesses -- will take place. After exhibits and lectures the day ends with a traditional gigantic fireworks display.