ROME — There is an essential incongruency seeing prelates celebrating an anti-clerical movement led mainly by Masons. Or of proven republicans celebrating the proclamation of a new kingdom. Or of the left celebrating an elitist movement in which in 1861, only 1.8 percent of the population were enfranchised. But anniversaries are all about symbols and today’s politics and not very much about real history.

11 Apr 2011
Desmond O'Grady

ROME– The Tamara de Lempicka exhibition is an achievement. It brings together 80 paintings and about 40 drawings by the Polish artist plus 50 period photographs and two 1930s documentary films which feature the woman it describes as “the queen of modernity.”

11 Apr 2011
Jack Castle


FLORENCE – Part of the charm of paintings is that they never change. Ever since the artist put their name to it, the painting has stayed the same in space and time. Perhaps this is why ” Modern Art”, with its preoccupation with flux, has moved in favour of the installation. Our art has to move with time, to change form and then change again, always in process, without end.

8 Apr 2011
Philip Willan

ROME—Silvio Berlusconi made unwelcome legal history in Milan on Wednesday when he became the first serving Italian Prime Minister to go on trial for paying for sex with an under-age prostitute and abuse of office.

7 Apr 2011

FURORE– Hidden away in the Lattari mountains high above the Amalfi Drive, the little town of Furore had a visibility problem. With celebrated neighbours like Positano, Vietri and Amalfi spread along Italy’s most spectacular coastline, few tourists ventured up the 7 kms of hairpin bends that led to a string of houses clinging like limpets to the dizzy heights. To add to its disadvantages, Furore had no central piazza where people gathered and no outstanding monuments. Its historic churches contained unsung works of art. Its history was largely undocumented.

6 Apr 2011

ROME — For the first time in almost 8 years Silvio Berlusconi appeared in a Milan court this week. It had little to do with the law and a lot to do with political theatre. After years of shunning the courts, he has decided that the best defence is attack and attack on his own terms, not the court’s. Until now, he appeared in the dock as little as possible; now he has said that he will dedicate Mondays to court appearances. Monday (or even Saturday) mattinées were never like the Berlusconi show.

31 Mar 2011
Philippa Malicka

ROME– The plot of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal is fairly simple and the chances are you will have heard something like it a hundred times before. Robert (Gianpiero Cognoli) and Jerry (Rinaldo Rocco) are best friends, they both work in the publishing industry and each is married. Robert is married to a woman called Emma (Sandra Paternostro) with whom Jerry enjoys a long affair, which ends at the beginning of the play. This is the first betrayal.

29 Mar 2011
Gianfranco Nitti

Rome — The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Fiat Spa have signed a 250m Euros finance contract in Turin to support the car firm’s research and development (R&D) plans, officials say. The EIB was represented by Dario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans, and Fiat by its CEO, Sergio Marchionne.

28 Mar 2011
Desmond O'Grady

ROME — Relics are an easy target -- David Farley hones in on probably the most bizarre — Christ’s alleged foreskin which for hundreds of years was preserved in Calcata, a township some 45 km (30 miles) north of Rome.

Farley, an American journalist, his wife and dog lived for almost a year in Calcata amid a quirky group of bohemians, artists and dropouts, some of them non-Italians. Several of the locals were just as colourful.

22 Mar 2011