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Letters from Rome

July 14, 2012

Italy in a bad Mood(y's)

Judith Harris

Five words sum up Italy in this hot mid-summer, and not one is Italian. Here they are, in no particular order: spread, Moody's, Porcellum (a bastardized Latin word coined by the...

July 6, 2012

Vatican Passes Money Laundering Test (Sort of)

Judith Harris

There were no fireworks this 4th of July in Strasbourg, where the otherwise clamorous case of the Vatican bank, Istituto per le Opere Religiose (IOR), founded in 1942, was put on...

June 11, 2012

"Grillismo" and the Powerful Forces

Judith Harris
Beppe Grillo

According to the pollsters, Beppe Grillo's share of the Italian electorate amounts to 16%, while Silvio Berlusconi's Partito della Libertà continues to sink like a stone....

May 7, 2012

Diary of an economic tragedy: “Look us in the face”

Judith Harris
The march of the widows in Bologna

"Open your shutters and look us in the face!" is what a mournful group of widows of debt-related suicide victims shouted last Saturday in Bologna during a demonstration in front...

April 13, 2012

Family values, Bossi style

Judith Harris
Umberto Bossi hands a cruet full of water from the river Po to his son Renzo.

Umberto Bossi, founding father of the Northern League, resigned as head of his party last week. After 30 years of blaming Rome of robbing, it turns out that some in Bossi's...

March 27, 2012

It's About Togetherness

Judith Harris

Italian poet Paola Pennecchi and Canadian photographer Allison Harris have joined forces to create an evocative, coffee table-sized book entitled "Traslochi" ("Moving on" in...

March 9, 2012

Good News Gazette

Judith Harris

There's good news from Italy, and it's about time. (Never fear: at the tail end of this piece we'll report some bad news, too.)

March 7, 2012

Derailing Turin’s High-Speed Train

Judith Harris

Protests over the construction of the TAV (Treno Alta Velocità) have spread all over Italy, with people blocking highways and city centers. Let's see what are the CONS and what...

March 1, 2012

“Where the Tall Grasses Grow”: A peek into the secret archives of the Vatican

Judith Harris

For the first time in history the Vatican is offering the Roman public and visitors a peek into its famous “secret archives,” its collection of ancient and modern documents...

February 21, 2012

Moms, Jobs and Bamboccioni

Judith Harris
A Scene from the Movie "Tanguy", the Adult Refusing to Grow Up

A much debated issue has been the center of many discussions recently, the so-called "bamboccioni" are the young Italian adults who still live at home with their parents, cuddled...

February 11, 2012

America Loves Monti—and just maybe, so does Italy

Judith Harris

A subtle and sober intellectual economist in a discreet blue suit, the new "emergency premier" marks a departure from the recent Italian past. For one, he is hailed and respected...

February 6, 2012

Mr. Monti Takes a Verbal Tumble

Judith Harris
Examinations for a guaranteed lifetime job

Italy’s suave emergency premier Mario Monti has floated on a wave of extraordinary popularity until last week, when a wisecrack he made about the labor market upstaged even the...

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