anthony di renzo

When Juno, Queen of Olympus, needed to vent her spleen, she visited Aeolus, god of the winds, on his draughty island off Sicily. Juno was outraged that the fugitive Trojan prince Aeneas was destined to found Rome and destroy Carthage, …

Whenever a summons came from the Vatican, Bugatti removed the clothes of his humble trade and like a Marvel superhero transformed himself into his powerful alter ego. He did not wear a mask, but he did wear a hooded, calf-length …

At the foot of Rome’s Capitoline Hill, by the staircase leading to the Piazza del Campidoglio, seat of the city government since the Middle Ages, a statue of a hooded man waving a sword commemorates a crime. On this spot …

The exodus begins in early August. Factories in the Tiburtina Valley grind to a halt. Executives abandon EUR’s corporate offices. Shops on Via del Corso and cafés in Piazza Navona shutter their windows and post signs. Surveying the deserted centro …

Before midnight, the tide turned. Jubilation spread from the Baths of Caracalla to the Quirinal. Romans in nightshirts and slippers poured into the streets, braying whatever English they knew. “Weekend!” one old man repeatedly shouted. “Weekend!” The Stars and Stripes …

At Campo Verano, Rome’s most exclusive cemetery, the dead keep office hours. Although the grounds are open between 7:30 AM and 6:00 PM, formal mourning is allowed only at set times. Visitors must enter on foot, unless obtaining a permit …

“Pasquino, my man!” booms Tyrell. Once a sound engineer for Earth, Wind, and Fire, he now lives in the Parione district and works in the Auditorium Parco della Musica. The only city with more soul than Rome, he jokes, is …

For ten days in December, a scirocco paralyzed Rome. Traders, oblivious to a rise in corn, moped around the Triton Fountain in Piazza Barberini. Socialites, veiled and caped in otter, drowsed in park carriages on the Corso. From the loggia …

Outside Caffé Sant’Eustachio students and cabbies, bankers and brokers, pundits and senators sip espresso and mock the news. Starbucks, the US coffee chain with nearly 27,000 locations worldwide, had opened its first Italian store in Milan. “Blasphemy,” pronounces an archivist …

Whenever my secretary Antonio pesters me for another collection of satires, I reply: “Beware, my son. Of the making of books there is no end.” If this seems jaded, it is only because I have witnessed so much ballyhoo and …