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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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

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Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

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After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
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Homeless Veterans appeal

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

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He's behind you, dude!

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From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

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Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

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Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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