Category Archives: Customs of the Country

Italy is the cradle of the best and the worst. A nation of natural and artistic beauty and creative people cloaked by endemic corruption, organised crime, pathetic politics and lack of civic sense. An immaculate-homes-and-dirty-streets country to love and hate.

Silvio Berlusconi: 11 overwhelming questions


Silvio Berlusconi and the dark aspects of Italy: why writing a book  about them? Silvio Berlusconi is “not just any old charlatan”, as the Nov. 21, 2011 Newsweek cover reads.  As I have said time and again, Silvio Berlusconi’s ventennio (his twenty years in office) is a privileged observatory as far as the future of democracy is…

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L’ordinanza fantasma – una storia molto siciliana

Ho letto sul Fatto Quotidiano del 17 agosto 2021 il bell’articolo di Selvaggia Lucarelli intitolato Noto, bellezza&monnezza. Ma se lo denunci t’insultano che descrive la sua vacanza da incubo in quella parte della Sicilia. Andando in ferie da alcuni anni in quei luoghi, non mi sono meravigliato per nulla. La bellezza barocca di quei posti…

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Who Killed Giovanni Falcone? ‘Don’t say murder, don’t say kill, it was destiny, it was God’s will’


Twenty-eight years later: Falcone and Borsellino are victims of Totò Riina’s ‘negotiating by bomb’ strategy. Victims and martyrs indeed, and of course heroes. Nevertheless, I always have a bitter taste in my mouth every year at the celebrations, and the feeling is not because of the inevitable rhetoric. Hypocrisy lurks in the air: slowly, too…

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The Ballad of the Covid-19 Gaol, part 2

Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, May 4,2020 Outside in my street… .. there is no one around, of course. A blistening sun is shining on the terrace from where I am writing the weather is very warm, inviting you for a stroll downtown or a walk in the parks already green. But, still, there is no one…

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World Cup 2018 – out of the cup, into the mud: corruption,violence, beauty in Italian football

All the World is a football Stage Italian football is the mirror of our society: it means organized crime connections, both at top management level or at mafia and camorra rank; it means corruption, in match-fixing, slush funds creation and drug use; it means another weapon of mass consent in the hand of the demagogic political candidate.…

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‘Trattativa stato-mafia’ verdict: The Berlusconi government’s deal with the devil confirmed, good omen for his recent official ‘rehabilitation’


‘In 2013 I wrote a whole chapter dedicated to the trattativa stato–mafia in my book about Berlusconi when just a few believed it had happened. Proud of it. A post will follow with the chapter. Thank you Di Matteo‘ is my first tweet after the sentence (trattativa stato-mafia means state-mafia negotiations). So here is the chapter in…

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Elezioni 2018: le foche ammaestrate e il cavaliere oscuro


The tame seals and the dark (ex) knight (article in Italian). La news più fake: Berlusconi Presidente. Passando occasionalmente davanti ad un televisore acceso ieri sera, ultimo giorno di campagna elettorale, ho avuto una visione surreale: l’ex Cavaliere, in uno avanzato stato di sfacelo che chirurgia plastica e trucco pesante non riescono a celare del…

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Vasco Rossi’s Modena Park concert: the world’s biggest live rock concert ever – in my hometown. Who’s that guy that comes from the farm?

Vasco-Rossi Modena-Park

Vasco Rossi’s Modena Park means 220.000 paying spectators at the concert. Is this a modern-day Woodstock or just a megalomaniac product? Is the rebellious spirit of Woodstock still here or are the children-parents-grandparents singing along together just celebrating cheap thrills? Is Italy a full-time member of international rock music now or are we just celebrating…

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Mafia Republic, a true crime book by J. Dickie – review


Mafia Republic: Italy’s Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, ‘ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present by John Dickie My rating: 5 of 5 stars … a wise traveller should bring this book with him on an Italian holiday and read it while tanning on a gorgeous Sicilian beach. As I was researching for my book…

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Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (1958): Trump, Berlusconi and Brexit were already scaringly there

Aldous Huxley

The essay Brave New World Revisited is an astonishing prediction of the XXI century’s shrinking democracy in the West. Here is an annotated long extract I edited as part of my research work for Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy. In times of Brexit, Trumpism, abandon of social commitment and triumph of ignorance, I think it is worth re-reading…

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