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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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
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Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific