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Letters from Rome

August 4, 2010

Can Italy Be Too Italian?

Judith Harris
Thomas Couture, "Romans during the Decadence", 1847

In a recent article New York Times reporter Michael Kimmelman asked the bizarre question “Is Italy Too Italian?” suggesting that Italy is so tradition bound, insular and...

July 19, 2010

Falcone and Borsellino Die Again

Judith Harris

On July 18, the day before the l8th anniversary of the murder of Judge Paolo Borsellino, the statues commemorating him and another emblematic victim of the Sicilian Mafia, Judge...

June 29, 2010

The Child Soldiers of Scampia

Judith Harris

Davide Cerullo comes from the gangland of Scampia, Naples. Once a drug hustler, he finally rebelled to the "easy life" the Camorra offered him: "Give people an opportunity, and...

June 18, 2010

Cradle of love

Judith Harris
The "Ruota" instituted by Pope Innocent III at Santo Spirito hospital

Back in the Middle Ages a priest named Datedo disposed the institution of Italy's first orphanage for children born out of adultery to save them from abandone and death. In 1198...

June 13, 2010

Where’s the Joke? Not in the Senate, alas

Judith Harris
Cartoon by Ed Stein (

The "Privacy Law" wanted by Silvio Berlusconi passed in the Senate in a vote of confidence on Thursday. In Italy’s “darkest moments” for press freedom, as the National...

May 30, 2010

Fini: “Other dangers” Lie on the Political Horizon. But Just What are They?

Judith Harris

"Our Constitution is the foundation and guarantee of the unity of the Republic,” Fini told a group of students visiting the Chamber of Deputies the other day. Ambiguously he...

April 29, 2010

Mafia, Kinds of Applause & Saviano's Quotes

Judith Harris

A confusion of applause: ovation at Perugia for Italy’s heroic Roberto Saviano and hurrahs at Reggio for arrested ’Ndrangheta boss Giovanni Tegano

April 15, 2010

Emergency’s Emergency: Italian Medics Seized in Afghanistan

Judith Harris

On Saturday in Rome’s Piazza Navona a demonstration is being organized in support of a trio of Italian doctors Matteo Dell'Aira, Marco Garatti and Matteo Pagani who were...

March 30, 2010

Back in the Saddle with Silvio

Judith Harris
Demonstration of PDL in Piazza San Giovanni, Rome

“We have given the left a lesson,” Berlusconi trumpeted from Rome Monday evening. Meanwhile, Umberto Bossi's populist right-wing, anti-immigrant Northern League will now...

March 25, 2010

Move over, Tony Soprano—you’ve had it

Judith Harris

The era of the Corleonesi is definitely at an end. We are witnessing the mutation of the Mafia strategy into one that is clearly based on finance. (Antonio Ingroia, Prosecutor)

March 8, 2010

In our Churches; On our Beaches. The Gypsies of Italy

Judith Harris

Can gypsies in Italy be integrated? In spite of the numerous efforts to address the negative image that people have of them, the stereotype in Italy, and not only here, is that...

February 27, 2010

Does Sex Make Italy Go Around?

Judith Harris

Whereas sociological studies showed that Italians are wonderfully happy with sex, the powerful and privileged are the exception, for they are obliged to resort to paid escorts...

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