President Sergio Mattarella appoints Senate President Maria Elisabetta Casellati to conduct exploratory negotiations for a new government. By way of light relief, in a street art cartoon copying Caravaggio's famous painting politicians are satirized as cardsharps.
Experts here disagree over whether the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China will have an effect on Italy and its economy, and to what extent. In particular, if U.S. wine exports to China decline because of higher tariffs, Italian wine sales may rise even further.
On Thursday, the second day of formal consultations in the Quirinal Palace, the risk of new elections continued to cast a shadow over the talks guided by President Sergio Mattarella. And in a changing Italy its youthful new Parliament just may prove unpredictable.
For the old and new pols charged with running Italy, the Ides of March are still approaching, which is to say the day when one or the other is done in. At the moment all the players are still aiming knives at each other, even as deadlines loom.
It is tough economic situation facing young Di Maio if he does manage to become premier of a M5S-dominated government. Small wonder then that last week this youth, born at Pomigliano d'Arco near Naples, made a trip to a Neapolitan church to kiss the relic of the beloved saint San Gennaro, whose blood is believed to liquefy annually.
Despite his party's resounding lead over every other party in Italy, Di Maio's M5S failed to achieve the 40% necessary to gain control of the government -- at least not yet. But on Friday the newly installed 630-member Parliament and 315-member Senate begins electing their presidents, in a notable show of horse-trading and power.
March 16 marks the 40th anniversary of the day when Aldo Moro was kidnapped and his five bodyguards were killed by Red Brigades, in a military-style operation on Via Fani in Rome. The ghost of that murder still haunts Italian politics.
The shock waves of this election have swept away the entire political system that has managed Italy for the past two decades. Dominated by populist parties, this is now being called the dawn of Italy's Third Republic.
As foreign press crews converge on Italy to report the elections, outsiders seem baffled at the plethora of parties and, instead of ideologies, the people in charge. Here's a listing of just who are these people.
As Italy plunges toward national general elections March 4, the walkup offers plenty of occasions for Italians to see themselves as others see them, with no holds barred. Herewith a sampling of the international press.