On a per capita basis, the nation has all the ingredients to be one of the world's most prosperous nations

Rome, sweet Rome

Make yourself at home in the villas where popes and painters flourished, says James Hill

Album: Baby Dee, Safe Inside the Day, (Drag City)

Baby Dee is a New Yorker of indeterminate gender with flowing Titian tresses and a voice like a drunken sailor on shore leave. I'm not selling this to you very well, am I? Perhaps if I tell you that the multi-instrumentalist has a folk/Weimar sound which, if you close your eyes, could be coming from a Hebridean inn circa 1750 as easily as the early rehearsals for 'The Threepenny Opera'? Or that Baby Dee's sixth album has several moments, notably the nagging chorus "Teeth are the only bones that show", which will haunt you for days? Or simply that Baby Dee is a genuine one-off, and that is always to be encouraged.

Art of Light: German renaissance stained glass, National Gallery, London

The panes and the pleasure

Galerie, Giorgione: Old Woman (c1508)

Nobody likes being labelled, or so they say, but it depends on the label. There are badges of pride, as well as badges of shame. The "A" (for Adulteress) that Hester Prynne has to wear, stitched on to her dress, in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is one kind of tag. The D&G logo embroidered on your shirt is another. There are many ways that people carry visible written signs upon their persons - tattoos, campaign stickers, T-shirt mottos, the corporate ID, the ticket on the corpse's toe, the beggar's placard.

Was Sandi Thom's effortless rise just too good to be true?

It was the stuff of modern fairy tales. A talented but obscure singer becomes an overnight success after she starts performing to thousands of people via an internet webcam in the basement of her London home. But after it was announced on Sunday that Sandi Thom had reached No 2 in the charts with her debut single "I wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)", she found herself the victim of the flip-side of the World Wide Web.

24 Hours In: Gozo

An abandoned citadel, a Baroque cathedral - oh, and the oldest structure on the planet... There's more than enough to fill a day here

della Francesca, Piero: The Resurrection (c1465)

And when at last one has arrived at Sansepolcro, what is there to be seen? A little town surrounded by walls, set in a broad valley between hills' some fine Renaissance palaces with pretty balconies of wrought iron' a not very interesting church' and, finally, the best picture in the world."

Major Stefan Stec

UN peacekeeper on 'Mission Impossible' in Rwanda

Shakespeare: the biography, by Peter Ackroyd

The king of infinite space

Miles Kington: Is there any intelligent design in America?

People had been told so often that time was running out for Earth that they were coming to believe it

Sue Arnold: One mother is an asset - two would be a liability

The idea of having another ageing mother in a granny annexe moaning about the children is daunting
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine