Italy Reels From Racist Attacks, Rancorous Politics

From the north to the south of its peninsula, Italy is awash in stories of seemingly random violence against migrants and blatant racism this summer. It’s a spate of attacks adding fuel to an already acrimonious social and political debate over foreigners in a nation that’s become a flashpoint in Europe’s tensions over African and Asian refugees and migrants.

Read more

Dirty Steelworks in ‘City of the Dead’ Tests Italy’s New Rulers’ Promises

“We are the first city of the dead,” Giovanni Scialpi, a street-side mussels vendor in Italy’s bootheel, says without a shadow of a doubt on his face. “Taranto is called the city of the dead. Everything is polluted. The water, the air. Everyone dies from tumors. So many health problems, and it’s always tumors.”

Read more

Gas Line to Europe Raises Questions of Corruption and Human Rights

For more than a year protesters have sought to stop work on a European-financed natural gas line coming all the way from Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea to the land of olive trees and beaches in southern Italy. Protesters have sought to block the removal of olive trees; they’ve blocked roads to stop work trucks and faced off with riot police; they’ve held marches, disrupted meetings and pushed their cause on the internet.

Read more

Olive Tree Blight in Italy Threatens Mainland Europe

Corrado Rodio walks outside the thick stone walls of his family’s ancient olive oil mill and farmstead, the Masseria Brancati, and strolls over to a 2,000-year-old olive tree at the farm’s entrance. “It was planted by the Romans,” he says. But will it survive a catastrophic disease that’s spread north and now is only a few miles away from Rodio’s farm? Rodio doesn’t think his trees will be spared.

Read more

Italy Pursues Offshore Oil Drilling, Despite Worries

Italy’s coastlines are among the most famous and beloved in the world, and the reason why tourists flock with abandon to places like Monopoli, a walled city on the Adriatic Sea each summer. But Monopolitan fishermen and others worry that that government’s new plans to allow offshore drilling could ruin their livelihood and the tourism from which so many coastal residents make their living.

Read more