Sport Mirco Bergamasco last played for Italy in November 2012 before he suffered a fractured kneecap

The 30-year-old utility back, now with Rovigo in his homeland, has stood out this season and earnt a recall from national coach Jacques Brunel

Travel: Night at the opera

If you're going to Verona for a little Verdi, you can expect to be part of the drama. By Cecily Woolf

Muddle over Verona memorial

Verona authorities were forced to cancel plans to name a stadium after Italy's 1938 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Aldo Olivieri after discovering he was still alive.

Bickering while Venice sinks

The burning of its opera house is only the latest in a catalogue of disasters to befall Italy's most vulnerable city. The real threat to its existence remains a unique combination of corruption and intransigence. Andrew Gumbel reports


States fall, arts fade, but the beauty is still in Venice; and when at last the tourist hordes of summer are gone, the city takes on a spectral, almost cinematic glamour standfirst Cold is a zzzzz This is a standfirst Romance zzzzz This is a standfirst unreal city etcz

Theatre; Venice Preserved; Almeida, London N1

There are two memorable facts about Thomas Otway. The first is that he wrote Venice Preserved (1682). The second is that, three years later, he was rescued from starvation by a stranger who gave him money for food; he promptly bought a bread roll, on which he choked to death.

Aboard a painted palace : TRAVEL : CULTURE VULTURES

Venice's least visited art collection is just a gondola ride down the G rand Canal. Michael Jacobs unveils the unsuspected glories of the Ca' Rezzonico

Departures: Cheaper Italy

SCHEDULED air fares to Italy are generally expensive compared with other European destinations, which means that charters can be particularly worthwhile. The winter programme from Italy Skybus (071-373 6055) offers considerable flexibility such as one-way fares and open-dated return tickets. Gatwick-Rome costs pounds 159 in low season; Manchester-Verona is pounds 194 in the peak season, just before Christmas.

THEATRE / Expect the unexpected: The Venetian Twins - Barbican Theatre

Wacky 'unscheduled' events are such an expected feature of Michael Bogdanov's productions that an audience would only faint with surprise if they failed to occur. You certainly wonder how many of them are taken in when his version of Goldoni's Venetian Twins is brought to a juddering halt by an accident in which a supposed punter is impaled on a brolly. Technicians, ambulancemen and police invade the stage - along with Bogdanov himself and Hermes from the production of Ion next door. It's all so laborious it makes you long to slip out to the telephones and put in a real summons for the police. The result would be very Pirandello.

Mask sculptueres for Venice

Sculptures by Philip Jackson inspired by Venetian masked balls. They will feature in an exhibition in Venice starting on 2 October at the Hotel Cipriani.

Venice vote

Venetians have narrowly rejected a divorce between the island city and its industrial mainland overspill, Mestre, it was announced yesterday, Patricia Clough reports from Rome. The vote, which was on Sunday but was counted yesterday, was 55-44.

Venice votes on civic divorce

(First Edition)

Mafia 'maxi-trial' opens

A trial began yesterday for 110 accused mobsters in Mestre, showing the extent of the Mafia's reach outside its Sicilian stronghold, AP reports from Mestre. It was the first such 'maxi-trial' in the Veneto region around Venice.

BOOK REVIEW / No gentleman in Verona: 'Isolina' - Dacia Maraini; trs Sian Williams: Peter Owen, 14.99 pounds

IN 1900, two Veronese washerwomen dragged a heavy bundle out of the river Adige. When opened, it was found to contain six pieces of human flesh. Subsequently, other parts of the bloody jigsaw were retrieved, including the remains of a pregnancy and a piece of skirt containing a shopping list that identified the victim: a 19- year-old called Isolina Canuti. It was another year before the head turned up.

THEATRE / Venice dies a death: Paul Taylor on Red Shift's Death in Venice

A SPARE, stripped-down Death in Venice? It sounds about as dubious a proposition as a luxuriant, richly upholstered Waiting for Godot. Nevertheless, this is what Jonathan Holloway and Red Shift are now offering at the Edinburgh Festival. Their show, using a cast of just four actors, is being plugged a trifle tendentiously as the first stage version of Thomas Mann's novella - a claim which will come as a bit of a surprise to anyone who has seen Benjamin Britten's powerful opera. It reveals Red Shift operating at a level some way below its best work.

THEATRE / The glitter of acid-etched gilt: Paul Taylor on Bill Alexander's production of Volpone in Birmingham

PLAYS SET in or around Venice seem to be much in vogue. Last week brought us The Merchant of Venice and The Venetian Twins at Stratford; now it's back to La Serenissima in Bill Alexander's striking production of Volpone at Birmingham Rep.
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