Postcard from... Rome


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Italy’s institutions, the butt of a thousand local jokes, appear more determined than ever to fare figuracce – make potential fools of themselves…

On Wednesday, it was the turn of the Italian parliament, with the upper chamber doing one of its periodic impressions of a nursery. Shrieking, arm-waving senators disrupted a debate on labour reforms for half an hour. The scene involved tears and culminated with somebody hurling the senate rulebook at the speaker Pietro Grasso – with the Northern League’s Gian Marco Centinaio admitting to doing so.

Not to be outdone, the executive, in the form of the Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, ordered mayors to remove same-sex unions performed abroad from city registers. After much criticism, he complained of suffering “unprecedented” verbal attacks.

And the judiciary invited ridicule with a prosecutor in Perugia deciding it was worth his time to prosecute six homosexuals who “disrupted” an anti-gay demonstration by kissing, brandishing coloured umbrellas and “a large tambourine”. This week, new data indicated Italian justice is among the tardiest. I wonder if magistrates in Perugia had time to read it.