Just north of the city, I sat in a room full of frustrated immigrants who had gathered to listen to promises made by Cécile Kyenge, who just last week made history when she was appointed Italy's first black cabinet minister. In Italy, if you are a child of immigrant parents, you are considered extracomunitari, a "foreigner" before the law. But maybe not for long.
According to the latest Statistics Canada report on household demographics, the nuclear family is no longer the norm. But are Italians, one of the country's largest ethnic groups, rethinking family composition in step with other Canadians? If so, how do these changes interplay with cultural identity?
There's something really sexy about Italy's once mighty capital. It's a warmth that moves through you, like a generous glass of Sangiovese. An energy difficult to describe, unless you've wandered it's winding paths. The feeling that, at any moment, something irrationally romantic will occur. This is Roma.
On a rough and rocky boat ride from gritty Napoli, amidst a rain storm and strong winds, our island destination appeared on the horizon. Home to haute couture, the Italian elite and considered the crown jewel of Campania, Capri looked shabby chic at first glance. It was October, a time when weather is unpredictable, but after one stormy night the skies opened up and this Italian isle sparkled just as I imagined.
It all just went down so quickly. We met, hit it off and I was honest. So we started seeing each other for a while and when I had to return back to Italy, we continued things online, knowing I'd be back in Canada after a couple of months. One day, everything was fine and we were chatting online, as you do when you're far away from your guy. It was pretty late my time -- six hours ahead of Toronto -- and he wrote this: "brb." Now, that was almost six months ago and I've never heard back.
Venice is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. Wandering down narrow, crumbling streets lined by canals, you can watch as gondolas silently slide by in the teal colored water, marvel at ornate churches and view a huge trove of masterpieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiepolo. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your trip to Venice!
If no longer -- thank goodness -- the geo-political cockpit of Europe (caught between rival ideologies in the civil war era), Spain cannot be dismissed as a periphery or marginal country out of step with the European project. Spain has all the features of a highly efficient and accountable country, from its ability to produce majority governments from both the respectable left and right, its elaborate system of federalism, and its increased multicultural identity.
So I'm standing outside "The Barn" restaurant ("It's called The Barn because all the animals go there" I was once told), having a smoke, and some hapless soul walks up and asks me for a cigarette. That'll teach me to open up a full pack on Queen Street. As I hand this guy his smoke, he looks at me, and in all sincerity asks "Do you know Tony?".
The irony of Germany's loss to Italy in the Euro 2012 cup will not be lost on those who have been watching the Eurozone financial crisis play out in recent weeks. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has been steadfast in her opposition to a plan for a common debt issuance program (so-called "euro bonds"), while her electorate have turned up their collective noses to calls for additional handouts to the problem centres like Greece.
We stand on the verge of another sure to be historical event. The thousands who gathered in the streets to wave the flags and scream and shout, this tradition that started with a great street party on St. Clair in Toronto in 1982, it was all a result of what people saw on TV. Soccer is now regarded as a valuable sports property. But all of this came from very humble beginnings.
New hope for the nuclear power industry has arrived in the form of a brand-new nuclear power plant design -- known as small scale "modular" nuclear reactor, which is a profoundly better answer to the ultra-costly retrofitting of very old and large nuclear plants -- and long overdue for most of the world's reactors.
There already are two currencies: the "Lutheran Euro," characterized by countries that are based on Protestant work ethic, discipline and thrift. Then there is the "Latin Euro," where style is often more important than substance. The euro crisis is this: The "Lutherans" are balking at bailing out the "Latins."