More Ideas, Less Personality

A new edited collection of Italo Calvino’s letters appeals more to lovers of the Italian’s work than to the general reader, but is still deeply rewarding

The Poet To Whom Fascism Owed It All

Lucy Hughes-Hallett's Life of Gabriele D'Annunzio paints a picture of a compelling and anarchic poet-statesman

Italian Insouciance

The over-generous Italian welfare state means that for all the belt-tightening, most people in the country still enjoy la dolce vita

Not All Roads Lead to Rome

Book review of The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples by David Gilmour

Spare the Thumbscrews

The Italian Inquisition by Christopher F. Black

Berlusconi, Italy and the Church

‘Italy is a microcosm of Europe: if democracy and the rule of law die there, the writing is on the wall for the rest of us’

Silvio’s House of Cards

‘Italy's real problem isn't Berlusconi's private affairs. Rather, the problem is the culture he now represents. ’

Vote for Fun

The average Sicilian's attitude to the European elections sheds light on our relationship with our own politicians

Il Miglior Fabbro

Five hundred years after his birth, Andrea Palladio continues to influence architecture

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"