A new sport has taken hold in Italy ahead of the Winter Olympics, which are set to kick off in Torino on Feb. 10. Dubbed "block the torch" by locals, it pits Italy's ardent anarchists against Olympic organizers trying to generate excitement by relaying the Olympic torch across the country.
The ruins of Matera in Italy's southern region of Basilicata are a grim reminder of how desperate life has been for the region's poor. Generations of families once lived here in squalid, windowless caves cut out of the steep ravines, often sleeping alongside their pigs, chickens and goats.
It's only January, and 2004 is already looking like a bad year for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The cancerous Parmalat scandal has roiled the Italian economy, and prosecutors warn they'll soon finger a handful of "high-ranking politicians" for suspected complicity in the case.
Imagine this. The president of the European Union is hosting a historic summit. Exhorting fellow ministers to admit Russia to the European Union, he brandishes an emphatic fist in the air--where the lights of the world's assembled TV networks catch his electronic-surveillance bracelet.
To an American, especially one who suffered through this winter, living in southern Italy sounds nice. But for the young men who train in Naples to become pizzaioli--professionals certified to make pizza in the original style of the Neapolitans--staying at home holds little allure.