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People who vote for Berlusconi are often the target of curiosity and/or negative comments. How can they, the comments go, keep voting for such a dodgy character? Are they missing something? Have they been brainwashed into loving him regardless of the truth?

No one can answer these questions, unfortunately. But certainly, these voters are not stupid. Certainly, they are not prone to misunderstanding what’s happening around them. Certainly, they double check facts before letting go of their emotions.

Except, today they did not understand that Berlusconi was actually being condemned, at last, for fraud. So, “Silvio’s army”, as they named themselves, celebrated his acquittal, and chanted “Silvio, Silvio!” in the streets of Rome until, finally, they realised that they hadn’t got what was going on. Oops.



Written by TheItalianist

02/08/2013 at 20:03

People Have the Power

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The Italianist has had a long break. Pretty much, 12 months, minus two days. A lot has changed, in Italy, since then.

The Pope has resigned. There have been new elections. New parties have appeared on Italy’s political scene. Berlusconi has been condemned a few more times, just to keep up. Oh, and I’ve discovered the National Security Agency reads this blog every day.

Hopefully, The Italianist is back. It’s an intense time for Italy, what with the economy, multiculturalism, and High Court verdicts, and we need to follow what’s going on.

As a sign of resilience in the face of the many difficulties the country has to face, an Italian MP from the 5 Star Movement today closed his address to the Parliament on the notes of “People have the Power”.


The power to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools.

Written by TheItalianist

29/07/2013 at 21:37

No Country for Young Men

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The journalist Massimo Gramellini, reporting on the 2012 Olympic Games in London, has pointed out an interesting element of the opening ceremony last week, an element which is “typically” italian.

As we all know, the hot moment of the opening ceremony is when the various delegations walk into the stadium, with the athletes waving at the crowd around them. The most representative (or the tallest..) athlete is vested with the honour of leading the delegation, carrying the national flag.

This was the Italian delegation:


Here is Gramellini’s comment:

“Behind the flag-bearer Valentina Vezzali, there comes a host of alert old men, who haven’t seen a gym for decades. The bowling team? Or maybe the canasta one? No, these are the executives of the Athletic Federation, those who are normally placed at the end of the group. Only for Italy the “differently young” are in the first row. And not just at the Olympic Games.”

The flag-bearer Valentina Vezzali remains famous, in addition to her achievements in fencing, for publicly telling Silvio Berlusconi “I’d very happily let you touch me”.

Aka: the most representative female athlete.

Written by TheItalianist

31/07/2012 at 10:08

Bunga Bunga Condoms

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In the last 12 years, a new word has entered te international vocabulary as a synonym of ‘Italy’: after pizza, mandolino, mafia, now we also have “bunga bunga”.

For a quick review of the words’ meaning, click here (yes, it’s even got its own Wikipedia page. And doing a google search on it can keep you busy for a good 10 minutes). So much is the folklore attached to this expression, that people have tried to use it for business purposes. Here and here are examples.

Enters Nicole Minetti:



These two pictures refer to her before and after meeting Berlusconi.

After much ado, and in the effort to clear her own image from the allegation that she was organising the infamous bunga bunga parties, and providing ladies for the ex-PM’s pleasure (more on this here), Minetti has made plans to re-establish her image once (if) she will leave politics. She has just deposited the trademark for a new line of condoms.

The condoms’ brand? Bunga Bunga, of course.

Written by TheItalianist

26/07/2012 at 23:44

San Remo, or Italy at its best

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There is (at least) one week every year in which everything is put on hold, in Italy, and the entire country focuses on one specific event: the Sanremo Music Festival.

It’s a 5 day-singing competition, where basically people sing songs, a jury gives votes, each day someone is excluded, and eventually one wins. Normally, the songs are cheesy and boring. One of the boring songs wins the festival; there is a separate category for the “Young Promises”, with its own winner. Sometimes good singers have come up from the Festival (one being, for example, Alex Baroni – whom I really liked and who, sadly, died a few years ago). On the downside, the Festival has given to the world Andrea Bocelli.

The weeks before the Festival are characterised by a build-up of national thrilling about what the guests will be, who will present the show, who will do what, who will say what, and sometimes even who will sing what. There is normally a standard structure: the presenter is a man, a popular face from TV or music. Then there are two co-presenters, one at his left and one at his right: these are, by rules, mega-hot women with a (recent) past of being sluts or similar. The Festival has just started and will run until the 18th of February. This year’s and last year’s team was the same: presenter, the man, the famous singer from the 60s, Gianni Morandi; left wing, Elisabetta Canalis, famous for being Goerge Clooney’s date for a while; and Belen Rodriguez, famous for having long legs.

Here’s a group picture:

Morandi is the one in the middle.

Being at its 60th-something edition, there is some concern that the attachment of the Italian population to the festival might decrease. So, the authors have devised a series of cunning strategies to attract a bigger audience.

This was the most successful one, which took place on the first night of the Festival. Enters one of the co-presenters, Belen Rodriguez:

Yes, you may want to zoom in.

The day after this show, the Vatican expressed harsh criticisms.

The target was a man called Adriano Celentano. A guest of the Festival, during the show he publicly called for people to stop reading L’Avvenire, the Vatican’s newspaper. The Bishops commented that Celentano’s comment was inappropriate, and that he should not appear again at the following nights of the Festival.

Immediately after that, an executive of RAI, the Italian national TV channel that hosts the Festival, and who has an interest in getting as big an audience as possible, joined the Vatican’s condemnation, pointing out that Celentano’s language “was unsuitable for public service”.

More songs, and more vaginas, to come in the next two days.

Written by TheItalianist

17/02/2012 at 14:30

If You Make Us Win, We’ll Beat You Up

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There are days, in Italy, when football receives as much attention as politics, and sometimes even more. Today it’s been one of those days. Here’s what happened. As part of Serie A Football League, yesterday evening Lazio faced the leading team, Inter FC, which was returning from a dramatic yet heroic qualification to the Champions League Final on last week. The stakes were quite high: Inter had to win so to keep the lead of the League, given that Rome FC, who had played in the afternoon, was one point ahead.

Rome FC and Lazio are both football teams of the city of Rome. Needless to say, Rome and Lazio’s supporters are arch-enemy. The football history of the city has always hinged around the Yellow-and-Red flag of Rome FC, and the Blue-and-White colours of Lazio. The former, celebrated by romantic songs and famous movies, the latter slightly less successful and with less liberal views. The differences have often resulted in inflamed clashes.

Before the match, Lazio fans found themselves in the strange situation of being able to help Rome win the League: in fact, had they won against Inter FC, Rome would have gone back to leading the ranking. Rome supporters, by the same token, had to get to grips with the idea of supporting Lazio’s victory, something which a true Roman does never do. However, Rome FC also feared that something fishy could have happened..

The result was that Inter FC won, 2-0. Inter is really rocking this year, and it would be hard for anyone to win against them. Nonetheless, someone noticed something strange happening during the match.

When Inter FC entered the stadium (Lazio was hosting the match), everyone cheered at them. I mean, both the Inter and the Lazio supporters. Then, some strange banners popped out on the terraces:

“Let’s step aside”

“League: Game Over”

People were surprisingly cheerful:

In a couple of occasions, Lazio’s keeper made a good save, and the Lazio supporters seemed to be booing him. Then, eventually, Inter FC scored. And this banner appeared:

Then someone started to think that things were not happening, so to speak, spontaneously. That is to say, that Lazio’s supporters did not want their team to win: more specifically, they did not want Rome to win. These doubts were buttressed, for example, by the fact that Lazio supporters were heard singing “Se segnate ve menamo!” (“If you score, we’ll beat you up!”), towards their own players.

Some comments on the web, today, seem to avail this possibility. Lazio’s fans are quoted from their blogs as pointing out that it would be hell for them to have to live in a Yellow-and-Red Rome, following Rome FC’s victory in the League. Nor could they accept the constant “sfottò“, the teasing that the Rome fans would throw at them if Rome won the League. Rome fans, on the other hand, are now yelling their rage against the Biancocelesti (White and Blue) in every corner of the media.

Politicians have stepped in too, to comment on the match. Maurizio Gasparri, President of the Senators of the PDL, and strenuous Rome FC’s fan, remarked that yesterday “a page of shame was written”. Cicchitto, from the same coalition, defined the match “a depressing scene”. Paolo Cento, President of the Rome FC Club of the Chamber of Deputies (!), highlights that what emerged from yesterday’s match is “the way football is managed”. A prompt reply arrived from the President of Lazio Club of the Chamber of Deputies (!), who highlights that Rome would have done exactly the same thing to Lazio. Gavino Angius, from the PD, went even further in stressing the ethical implications of the match, and called for sanctions against Lazio.

I think it’s a bit too much, Gavino. I don’t think that Lazio players are to be blamed. Nor, in my humble opinion, should Lazio fans. These things are part of football, I am afraid.

“Lazio fan, ask Santa Claus to bring you 3 points”

Written by TheItalianist

03/05/2010 at 23:18

Beware of the Prostitute

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 From the Daily Telegraph..

Written by TheItalianist

17/04/2010 at 11:46

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