anthony di renzo

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 …

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 …

Now dedicated to penal reform, the Confraternity’s members no longer wear penitential black. Rome’s night traffic laws prohibit dark clothing for pedestrians. But the Confraternity’s emblem remains carved in a tondo above the cornice of the church door: a severed …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …