Category Archives: mafia

Carnevale (no, not that one)

Only yesterday, Italy’s minister of justice ‘Choochieface’ Alfano was talking about rejuvenating the judiciary. Now it appears there are plans to pass one of those ad personam laws for which Italy is becoming sadly famous (or would be if the … Continue reading

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We live in interesting times, as the Chinese curse has it. A few months ago, after reading about the treatment meted out to refugees in Britain and thinking about the mood of anti-refugee rage I encounter so often when I’m … Continue reading

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Recognise this fat buffoon on the left? (Not Berlusconi, the one with glasses.) There’s no reason why you should unless you’re an Italian abroad and received some electoral bumph from his personalissimo party, Italiani nel Mondo – and, I hope, … Continue reading

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Tengo famiglia

Three short updates on Italy. (Spot the link.) Salvatore Ferranti, jailed for presumed association with the Mafia, has been granted house arrest because he’s just too fat for his cell. The bed won’t take his weight, the door’s too narrow … Continue reading

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No corruption? No party!

Italian politicians certainly know how to celebrate. Totò Cuffaro, centre right, president of the region of Sicily (see left: modelling a coppola, traditional Sicilian headgear, in a probably mistaken photo-op), was convicted a couple of days ago of having favoured … Continue reading

Posted in corruption, italy, mafia, politics | 4 Comments


One of the most important, and useful, books to have come out recently in Italy isn’t a novel, but an exposure of the role played by the Camorra, the international Mafia-style structure with its base in the organised crime of … Continue reading

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La Maffiosa (sic)

Back to Paris, where we saw this sign outside a pizzeria in rue des Dames. It’s extraordinary the extent to which criminality can acquire a veneer of folksy charm. Who knows how long it will be before we see a … Continue reading

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Bagnasco: Shame!

When does a comment become a threat? Apparently, when it’s directed at the head of the Italian Episcopal Council. God’s ferret stepped down a couple of months ago, to be replaced by Archbishop Bagnasco of Genoa. This would be of … Continue reading

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How to become a full professor in Italy

a) Wait until the university in which you work as a lecturer invites applications for a full professorship.b) Write a book of no academic value by throwing together work from other books and stealing material from colleagues further down the … Continue reading

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Richard on the run

I was on holiday in Amalfi with friends, over twenty years ago now. We’d taken the ferry to Capri for the day and were walking across the Piazzetta when I heard someone call my name. Richard was sitting alone at … Continue reading

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