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It’s not easy for professional football players to acquire a reputation for being more stupid or badly behaved than common opinion already holds.

RICHARD EHRLICH'S BEVERAGE REPORT: PICK A WINE, ANY WINE

M&S wines won't make you break into song but you sure can rely on them

Artists fume as opera chief is jailed for arson

ON 27 OCTOBER 1991, Bari's Petruzzelli opera theatre was gutted by fire. This week, Fernando Pinto, the flamboyant impresario who managed the theatre at the time, was sentenced to six years in prison for commissioning the blaze.

A passable attempt at passata down among the olives

Sarah Gracie packed her apron, set off on a one-week, al fresco cookery course deep in the Italian countryside and found there was life after sun-dried tomatoes

A complete guide to the regions of Italy

The Regions of Italy have evocative names which induce such reveries that nobody can remember where they are. Well, we know Tuscany, Sardinia and Sicily, but what of the rest? Apart from Umbria, covered in detail on this page, here is a quick run-down:

Berisha sacks army chief as rebellion continues

The state of emergency imposed in Albania two days ago has exacerbated fear in the capital, Tirana, but has done little to quell the anti-government rebellion in the south, where several towns have fallen under the control of angry citizens.

Rugby Union: Bari dazzles brave Bath

Bath 18 Otago 31

Into the heel of Italy

After the frenetic summer crowds have departed, Apulia relaxes and basks in the autumn sun. Diana Constance explores a private paradise of Baroque cities and natural wonders

Menotti: profit without honour

Gian Carlo Menotti is a composer who leads the double life of the successfully out-of-favour. On my desk is a press release telling me that "somewhere in the world, virtually every day of the year" someone stages a Menotti opera; and it's very likely true. There are 22 Menotti operas to choose from and they include the deathless Amahl and the Night Visitors, which is to the American Christmas what Dickens, Carols from King's and Morecambe & Wise are to ours.

FOOD & DRINK: NOT LIKE MAMA USED TO MAKE

British supermarket shelves are groaning with long-life pastas, dyed pastas, dried pastas, filled pastas. The Italians must be bemused. For them, simplicity and quality are what counts.

Colour is the key

Brindisi Quartet/ Barry Douglas Wigmore Hall, London

Obituary: Professor A. D. Trendall

A. D. Trendall was one of the great classical art historians of this century.

French board protest ship in Brindisi

Brindisi (AP, Reuter) - French commandos boarded a Greenpeace ship yesterday after anti-nuclear activists from the group tried to block a French warship in Brindisi harbour.

SETTING OF THE SUNDRIED

FOOD & DRINK In Britain, sundried tomatoes, once the height of foodie r efinement, have declined into a joke. And all this time, sophisticated Italians didn't even eat them. Now they do. Michael Bateman reports

LETTERS; Tigers, sheep and wolves

IT IS ironical that in this week of all weeks one reads of the wide currency given to the slogan "It is better to have lived one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep" (Quotes of the Week, 20 August). On entering Taranto harbour in September 1942, almost the first large building we saw bore the massive black lettering: "Meglio vivere un giorno di leone che cento anni di peccora". It was Mussolini's favourite exhortation to his Fascists.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable