It’s a good story because of the Vatican’s proverbial secrecy and intrigue and because of its ambiguity between its role as an international political and economic power and its claim to spiritual and ethical leadership. Mix that with the pedophile priest scandals (none in the Vatican itself so far but plenty of accusations of cover-ups) and not surprisingly, there is good copy for all. [more inside]
Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni's kidnappers were convicted by a Hamas-run military court in the Gaza Strip today for their involvement in the abduction and murder of the Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni in April 2011. [more inside]
Nobody was surprised when Italy Prime Minister Mario Monti presented a draconian "save Italy" emergency Budget decree on Sunday - that's what he had been nominated to do. But the full impact of the measures, especially hitting pensioners, became stunningly clear when Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero, invited by Monti to present her ministry's section of the decree to the press and TV, broke down (SLYT) and was unable to bring out the word "sacrifice".
Italy’s government teeters on the brink: tomorrow (Tuesday) a no-confidence vote should decide whether we have another three years of bunga-bunga partying, "escort" (= prostitute) scandals and international gaffes from the leader of this NATO partner and founding EU member, or whether Silvio Berlusconi will be sent home. Some think it’s a hilariously stupid (SLYT) to suggest he might step down. [more inside]
World's first 'tree cathedral' takes root in Italy The remarkable work designed by Italian environment artist Giuliano Mauri [Italian Wikipedia link], who died last year, has been completed after months of work and presented as one of the initiatives marking the International Year of Biodiversity.
The Via Francigena (fran-chee-jena) (also here) was the pilgrim road leading from Canterbury to Rome and one of the most important routes of communication in the Middle Ages. The Italian government has this week launched a project to recover the Italian leg of it. [more inside]