in what has to be Europe's most ill-considered stimulus plan yet, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently proposed allowing owners to expand single-family homes by 30 percent, or 35 percent including "green" additions, with no need for approvals.
In Italy, when the hosts (communion wafers) go missing, cops get as worried as the priests. In recent months, churches have reported a shortage of hosts and votives, and lower levels of holy water in the fonts.
Since the economic crisis hit, most illegal immigration has slowed—in the U.S. it fell 21 percent last year. Why head north if there's no work? Yet in Italy, arrivals from North Africa doubled in the last year (from 13,000 to 33,000, according to the U.N.).
Forget cute orange pumpkins and pop-culture costumes. A truly eerie Halloween begins in a medieval crypt. Siena, along with 32 other spooky Italian cities, is introducing Halloween itineraries called "Trekking and Mysteries" (trekkingurbano.info) that take urban adventurers through graveyards, catacombs, crypts and medieval fortresses.
When Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called for new elections on April 13, he set the stage for another episode of the Silvio Berlusconi show. If the 71-year-old former prime minister wins again—he's the front runner—he faces a new world, in which his reputation for sexist (he once invited foreign investors to consider Italy because of the beautiful secretaries) and racist (he called a German European Parliament member "kapo," slang for concentration-camp prisoner) comments could play...