Pilgrims: Holy Week

At Easter time, all roads lead to Rome. But just because you're going on a pilgrimage doesn't mean you have to live like a pilgrim. Tip Sheet's advice:Forget staying in a cramped hotel room.

Italy's New Patriotism

Italians have never been particularly patriotic. Only 72 percent say they are proud to be Italian, according to a recent survey. More than 40 percent can't identify the colors of their national flag.

The Stigma Of Disability In Italy

Diego Chiapello, legally blind since birth, isn't one of Italy's famous "mama's boys" who live with their parents into adulthood. The 27-year-old lives alone in Milan, works as a network administrator, loves diving and dreams of sailing across the Atlantic with an all-sight-impaired crew.Obviously, he's not your average disabled person--but especially so in Italy.

Always Home

When he was 4, Michael Portegies-Zwart asked his mother, Carolyn, the question that all parents dread: "Where do I come from?" But instead of reaching for the anatomy books, she pulled out the atlas. "[I'm] from the United States, your father is from Holland and you were born in Vienna," she explained.

The Tenor In Cowboy Boots

There aren't many men who could fill Luciano Pavarotti's shoes. But Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra seems destined to do just that. Last May, New York's Metropolitan Opera flew the 34-year-old Sicilian over on the Concorde to be on standby for Pavarotti, who had caught a flu bug before his string of scheduled farewell performances.

Back To 'La Dolce Vita'

In Federico Fellini's 1976 film "Casanova," a giant Medusa rises out of a Venice lagoon and looms menacingly over Donald Sutherland's character. Back then the film was considered a work of genius for creating such dazzling effects.

Sale Of The Century

It's a developer's dream: 20,000 square meters of premium property in the heart of Rome. Simply convert the Colosseum into a colossal shopping mall. (Need parking?

Listen To Me, Doc

At first glance, Dr. Lucilla Ricottini's office seems just about normal for a pediatrician in Rome. The colors are muted, the lights are fluorescent and kiddie toys litter the waiting room.

'Carp' Diem

From the Ponte Sisto in Rome, the view of St. Peter's is postcard perfect. The ancient bridge across the Tiber was built from remnants of various pillages--a chunk of marble from the Colosseum, a cornerstone from an ancient temple.

Travel: Flying Tots

Taking a toddler on a trans-Atlantic flight? It's enough to make both Mommy and Baby weep. But skip the Benadryl. Just plan ahead:CARRY-ONS: Along with necessities, take a few sets of clothes for your kid and an extra shirt for you.

Travel: Spit-Ups At 10,000 Feet

You've just boarded a transatlantic flight with two kids, a stroller and a diaper bag. As you make your way up the aisle, other passengers avert their eyes, their body language shouting: "Please, don't sit here!" You know well the acute sense of relief they feel as you limp past them on your way to the back of the plane--after all, you used to be one of them.

Yes! We Have No Bananas

When Italian authorities stumbled upon a suspicious merchant ship sailing in the Mediterranean two years ago, they were sure they had captured a key part of an international drug-smuggling ring.

Trouble In The Mountain

In the towns and villages that dot the side of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that buried the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, life seems normal enough, except there's expectation in the air.

When In Rome...

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe was in Rome last week, making waves and raising eyebrows. First he declared that his government's notorious land-grab policies are a "visionary" solution to hunger.

The King And His Cars

It's been a bad year for Giovanni Agnelli, the ailing king of Italian industry. This spring the Rome press was writing eulogies for the Fiat founder after he failed to appear in public for several weeks.

Doctor Of Hope

Nothing about Luigi Di Bella stands out. He's not tall. His dark suit, by Italian standards, is rather plain. Even the restaurant where he's having coffee is unremarkable.

OVER TROUBLED WATERS

In ancient times, sailors lived in fear of the violent and treacherous passage between Calabria on the Italian mainland and the island of Sicily. Homer wrote of a whirlpool that swallowed ships whole, and a six-headed monster lying in wait for sailors foolish enough to make the crossing.

The Rites Of Spring

Spring has sprung in Sicily. The wildflowers are blooming, pale northern tourists are heading for the beaches--and bulldozers are showing up outside people's homes.

First Person Global

There is perhaps no better place in the world to have a baby than Italy--at least so it would seem. The icons of motherhood, the Madonna and child, hang on every street corner and piazza in the form of carved shrines laden with roses and candles.

Riding The 'Underwater'

Venice has long been in trouble. Its population is shrinking. Its historic buildings are crumbling. The whole city is sinking slowly into the sea. You could say the town is going down the tube, figuratively speaking.

Rome, Fearful City

Rome's Piazza di Spagna is famous as a meeting place for tourists and Italians alike, a place to see and be seen. But this week, it became a symbol of all that is happening in and to America and the perceived danger that faces not only Americans but their allies.Metal detectors were installed inside the American Express office just off the piazza.

Rebuilding The Colosseum

The Colosseum is like Rome itself. After all these centuries, it never runs out of surprises. One of the latest turned up on a second-tier corridor only a few weeks ago: an amateurish but detailed drawing scratched into the wall.

Rebuilding The Colosseum

The Colosseum is like Rome itself. After all these centuries, it never runs out of surprises. One of the latest turned up on a second-tier corridor only a few weeks ago: an amateurish but detailed drawing scratched into the wall.

Now That's Italian!

The hilltop village of Montefalco is a sleepy Umbrian hamlet with characteristic views of olive groves, vineyards and crumbling old villas. Villagers sip their morning cappuccino standing up at a counter, and the scent of garlic being sauteed in oil wafts through the air.

Righting One Wrong Tower

For much of the last decade, Italy's leaning tower of Pisa was a huge construction site. Crews piled 900 tons of lead bricks around the tower's base. More recently, they drilled holes beneath the tower, inserted pipes and sucked out 70 tons of soil to be carted away by a fleet of dump trucks.

The Mountain Is Rumbling

Each spring, residents of Catania walk the Sicilian's town's narrow streets chanting prayers and touting relics of Saint Agatha, their patron saint and protectress against an eruption of Mount Etna.

The Plan To Refloat Venice

The chic Quadri restaurant in Venice's Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark's Square is known for its signature saffron scallops, its baked gelato--and its Wellington boots.

Is It Terrorism Redux?

The whacking of Massimo D'Antona had all the earmarks of a commando operation. For days, the killers hid in two stolen vans parked on opposite sides of the busy Via Salaria, where their quarry lived.

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