Italian presepi -Nativity scenes, that is- come in all shapes, sizes, colors and dimensions. The historic ones in the venerable churches may have over 100 hand-carved figures. In today's presepi, Holy Families, shepherds and sheep may actually be alive - or be made of ice or sand.
Vice-President of the Council and Minister of the Interior
Matteo Salvini will shortly visit the United States, he told a crowded hall of foreign journalists at the Foreign Press Association Dec. 10. While calling for regular and regularly controlled immigration, he said, "My priority is the 5 million Italians living in poverty."
Fear of immigrants is an economic theme: 58% say they believe that migrants take away jobs from Italians
This December's annual Censis Report on the Italian society and economy is not exactly what Santa ordered. Its 52d edition shows an Italy suffering from fear of the future and of migrants, and lax in investing in education.
From Christmas trees like Rome's "Spelacchio" to projects to fight pollution through urban forestry, trees make news, and not only those in Rome which have been neglected and fall across downtown streets.
In a 22-year project, 50 classicists and computer experts have for the first time recreated ancient Rome in virtual reality. Thanks to new technology, students and scholars as well as the general public can fly over the Rome of 1,700 years ago.
Associated Press agency album of photos of Rome display huge trash piles, clogged sewers, graffiti and potholes. Going viral worldwide this week, the AP photos shocked even the Romans. Perhaps worse are plans to build a shopping plaza within the Colosseum park.
This is the height of the truffle season, and Italy is host to a number of truffle fairs. The most important, the International Truffle Fair at Alba, in Piedmont, celebrates the incredibly aromatic white truffle. But truffles are found even near Rome, and almost year round.
Italy's cultural heritage outshines that of any other European nation, but this has not prevented the government from slashing its budget for heritage maintenance. Spending on school has also been reduced.
Major elections take place only next May in the 27 EU member states, including Italy. But already political voices are being raised in Italy these days, from the rubbish pile-up to the pile-up of the national debt.
For his 1959 film "La Dolce Vita," Federico Fellini dubbed photographer Rino Barillari "King of the Paparazzi." This month Rome's prestigious Maxxi museum honors Barillari's 60-year career with an exhibition of 100 of his photos.