Tag Archive: La Repubblica


A strong leader stands in an un-drained swamp.

“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind”
Lyrics by Morrissey to ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths

A recent survey carried out by the newspaper La Repubblica  found that 80% of Italians think the country needs to be run by “un uomo forte” (a strong man). In 2006, only 55% of the populace subscribed to this view while 60% held this belief in 2010.

This rising trend is worrying and depressing on many counts. It indicates that more and more voters are willing to be represented by leaders solely on the basis that they adopt strong opinions and maintain a posture of decisiveness.

On the surface this may seem logical and uncontroversial. After all, who would want a leader to be weak and indecisive? The problem lies with what exactly is meant by the word ‘strong’. Continue reading


As an Englishman abroad, I have depended on the good will of visitors and frequent trips ‘home’ to ensure that I don’t run out of Marmite.

Those in the ‘I love it’ camp will appreciate why it is important to maintain a stock of this spread.

In 17 years of living in Italy, I have never found anywhere that sells it but a tip-off from a work colleague led me to Scaramagli in Bologna.

This amazing shop has existed since 1912 and is now in the third generation of owners. From the outside, it doesn’t look anything special; just another well stocked store in a city that justifiably prides itself on its range of gourmet food stores.

Inside, the lavishly stocked shelves are a paradise for ex-pats and foodies. “Look they even have mincemeat!” said my wife; to which a passing English gentleman dryly commented “It’s not in season”.

The fact that it also boasts having 2813 different types of wine, 275 brands of whisky and 268 varieties of grappa, it would also keep any wealthy alcoholic permanently sozzled.

A newspaper clipping on the wall from La Repubblica describes the shop as the city’s answer to Harrods. This is not entirely accurate as it doesn’t have to elaborate decor or fancy trimmings of the London store but it does reflect the shop’s unique and historic character.

I intend to become a regular customer.

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