Another fight at the opera as La Scala puts Verdi behind Wagner

Controversy is never far away from The Scala and its season opener

Italians upset by La Scala's decision to kick off season with German composer Wagner and not local hero Verdi

Richard Wagner's Lohengrin kicks off La Scala's season on Friday with the renowned Milanese theatre under fire for choosing the German maestro over local hero Giuseppe Verdi on the biggest night of the year for the world of opera.

Silvio Berlusconi: I'm being 'besieged by requests' to run in Italian election

Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has given a strong hint that he would stand in next year's election, declaring he would not allow Italy to spiral into recession and saying he had been “besieged by requests” to run.

Mario Balotelli and the Mona Lisa

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is 'as valuable as the Mona Lisa'

Striker linked with return to Italy

Silvio Berlusconi passes a policeman outside Milan's justice court

Far from being a sideshow, Silvio Berlusconi's legal battles have dominated Italian politics for decades

The former President became a figure of ridicule and spawned a thousand other crooks

Vladimir Putin must find it hilarious that David Cameron won’t back Europe on Russia’s abuses

In his latest dispatch our columnist reports from a George Michael concert and has some advice for Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell, the under fire Tory MP

Today's wacky stories from the web: gangster guns, cryogenics and Amityville horror house for sale

A wikipedia for hip hop, Italy's most tyre-rannical politician, frost-bitten penis, snake bite vs. morphine and the brand new Taj Mahal

'People do worse things,' says politician who slashed tyres of disabled pensioner

Italian politicians have a formidable to-do list, with surging unemployment, a shrinking economy and rampant corruption to contend with. But their biggest problem, many Italians would argue, lies in their inability to apologise, let alone quit, when they find themselves in disgrace.

Pope's secret files has been found revealing Vatican scandals

Pope's butler found with thousands of secret papers

Documents tell tales of Vatican scandals, spies and secret societies, trial of Paolo Gabriele told

Mario Monti’s government has only six months left

Anyone but Silvio Berlusconi: Italy begs unelected Mario Monti to stay

Spectre of former PM is boosting popularity of leader parachuted in by European Union

Postcard from...Italy

Hollywood is making its annual trip to Venice, with the world's oldest film festival kicking off yesterday.

Postcard From...Naples

In Italy even the oldest profession needs a helping hand during hard times. With more and more women turning to the sex industry and levels of violence against prostitutes on the rise, the mayor of Naples has proposed an experimental red light district modelled on that in Amsterdam, so the authorities can gain some measure of control.

Postcard From...Milan

The less savory elements of the Italian press are doing their best to whip-up anti-German feeling as tussles continue between Rome and Berlin over how to save the euro.

PSG’s new £33m signing Thiago Silva (left) and his Brazil team-mates Juan Jesus and Alex Sandro pick up souvenirs at the Olympic Park

Thiago Silva says it's strictly business for Brazil at the Olympics

World's most expensive defender tells Andy Brassell the quest for first Olympic gold is no laughing matter

Andy Carroll: Striker to return to home-town club in an amazing piece of business

Carroll in limbo as Liverpool refuse to let him go home on loan

Liverpool last night flatly rejected what they considered to be a poor value bid from Newcastle United to take back Andy Carroll on a season-long loan.

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Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
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The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
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3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
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The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
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Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
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Star turns: Montacute House
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution