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.

Elezioni 2018: le foche ammaestrate e il cavaliere oscuro

Berlusconi-presidente-fake-news

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

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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Clean Hands’ 25th anniversary: and they lived corruptly ever after

1992 is modern Italy’s D-year. It is the time of the death of the decadent First Republic and the birth of the more degenerate Second one, which is probably about to end these days. It is the year of Mani Pulite (Clean Hands, or Tangentopoli), an investigation that revealed the corruption of politics and business…

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“Theirs is a cultural richness like no other”: Italy’s earthquakes and the loss of great human fabric

montecassino

On October 30, 2016 another tremendous earthquake hit central Italy again, the greatest one in the last decades of a series that started in August, killed almost 300 people and destroyed the cultural treasures of the medieval small towns and villages scattered along the Apennines. The news came to me as I was spending my…

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29 Settembre: happy birthday to Modena ‘beat’ music capital

29-settembre-2016-concert-Modena-Maurizio-Vandelli

When the folk revival and then the rock revolution of the 60s arrived in Italy, it landed in Modena. Amid Ferrari and Maserati cars, balsamic vinegar producers, tortellini restaurants and small industrial enterprises scattered around the province, ‘beat’ music started to bloom almost unexpectedly in that ‘little town, bastard place’, as Francesco Guccini, one of…

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My top ten non-fiction books about today’s Italy (in English) – and a modest picture of the country

Ideal-City-Map-of-Hell

My top ten books are a virtual guided tour that wants to take you to the heart and the soul of what may seem like the most European of countries. It’s a voyage, sometimes dark and sometimes funny, throughout “Good Italy” and “Bad Italy”, an attempt to let the reader scratch at the reassuring surface…

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Education in Italy (part two): the foul play of Berlusconi’s and Renzi’s reforms

Vittorio-Vandelli-Professor-Bingo-education-Italy

In Education in Italy part one I describe the decline of the Italian Education system since the beginning of the new century and the birth of the scuola/azienda, of the student/customer and of the consumers’ school, with its parallel downgrading of the role of teachers and students. In this post I’ll try to present the…

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Education in Italy (part one): Nothing worth Teaching can be Taught?

William-Shakespeare-Leicester-Square

Education in Italy: Nothing worth Teaching can be Taught? In Education in Italy part one I’ll describe the decline of the Italian Education system since the beginning of the new century and the birth of the scuola/azienda, of the student/customer and of the consumers’ school, with its parallel downgrading of the role of teachers and…

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