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  • Facts & Stories
    Emily Hayes(February 20, 2015)
    Feyenoord fans rampaged the historic center of Rome and the newly restored, 400-year-old Bernini Fountain of Barcaccia. The oval basin of the fountain is now filled with broken glass and marble.
  • Pulitzer Prize- and Oscar-winning John Patrick Shanley is best known for his riveting Broadway play Doubt, which he has since rewritten as a screen-play and a movie, as well as his Hollywood hit Moonstruck, which won three Academy Awards. He is also a theater and film director. And above all, he loves Italy and Italian America.
  • Former President Giorgio Napolitano left office definitively Jan. 14, returning to his home in Rome’s colorful, ancient Monti quarter, a stone’s throw from Trajan’s Forum. His departure after nine turbulent years in office was moving to watch as, in the great courtyard of the Quirinal Palace, he received the formal farewell salute of a horseback brigade in full regalia. Now, with that ritual behind, the less elegant horse trading to elect a successor begins in earnest. Two years ago Napolitano agreed to succeed himself only to break a long political stalemate. The question is whether that stalemate will be repeated, without a Giorgio Napolitano to smooth over a difficult transition
  • As if inevitably the political fallout from the hideous murders and ongoing terror stalemate in France is as great or greater than anywhere else in Europe, save for France itself. Security measures have been tightened throughout Italy, but such concerns are in the forefront, beginning with the safety of Pope Francis and of the faithful who flock into St. Peter’s Square daily in Rome. But repercussions on an already uneasy political situation appear no less inevitable.
  • Its culture czars hope that in 2015 Italy will finally cash in on its museums, historic archives, Renaissance and Baroque palazzi and archaeological sites. Until now, income from what is the richest single heritage in Europe yields a measly annual net profit of under $37 million. Needless to say, most of the income the heritage generates goes to paying the wages of personnel. Finally, after months of debate, on Dec. 19 Culture Minister Dario Franceschini signed into law a decree to relaunch the heritage sites with more help from private sources.
  • In his customary cordial way, President Giorgio Napolitano read the political elite of Italy the polite equivalent of the riot act. On Tuesday the president made his traditional end-of-year address to the ranking elders of the Italian state, and it obviously represented a carefully considered sermon. He also insinuated that he will end his term of office Jan. 14, after which a new president must be chosen.
  • Courageous police and magistrates are battling valiantly against a wave of high-level political corruption linked to organized crime in Rome that has just brought 37 indictments. The dozens more under formal investigation include a cabinet minister and a former mayor of Rome. The media have christened this latest Italian scandal “The Sack of Rome.” This month Transparency International ranked Italy 69th down its list of corrupt nations
  • Life & People
    Stanislao Pugliese(November 10, 2014)
    Based on his novel Il trono vuoto (The Vacant Throne), Roberto Andò’s film Viva la libertà appeared last year in Italy at a propitious moment, just as Florence mayor Matteo Renzi stormed to national political prominence and assumed the office of prime minister (the youngest in Italian history) in early 2014. Both the film and the reality deal with a moment of crisis of the left; but perhaps that is where the similarities end.

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