Il New York Times sullo stato dell’Italia e il caso Cinecittà.
Lately this country has become its own reality show, as Italians often lament. The situation has gotten to the point where nobody even seems to find it especially odd that the prime minister, like an Italian version of Miriam from Forest Hills or Dave from Harlem calling into WFAN, regularly phones television chat shows to rant or complain about how the host is portraying some government measure.
Not long ago Giovanni Floris, the host of “Ballarò” went so far as to refuse to take Mr. Berlusconi’s call. Silvio from the Chigi Palace had already had his turn, Mr. Floris declared, and if the head of the Italian government had something more to say, he was welcome to come onto the show in person and say it.
This now passes for gallows comedy in the land of Plautus and Boccaccio, where Mr. Berlusconi’s administration, having endlessly chipped away at the national arts budget and the fund for opera, music, theater and film, pays the standard lip service to culture as the country’s pride and joy and economic engine. The second anniversary of the earthquake that devastated L’Aquila came and went this month, and, shamefully, the historic and formerly bustling center of that city still remains nearly empty. A concert hall designed by Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect, which was to have opened there on the anniversary, has been delayed time and again by the usual money and organizational afflictions.
The conductor Riccardo Muti made news last month when, during the premiere of “Nabucco” here in Rome, he led the audience in a spontaneous encore of “Va, Pensiero.” (“O, my homeland, so beautiful and lost” goes one of the relevant lyrics.) The occasion was a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italian unity, and the encore was the crowd’s protest against arts cuts and the country’s general state of turmoil, Mr. Muti explained afterward, comparing the event to “something out of the Visconti film ‘Senso,’ ” thereby confirming that for Italians life has come to imitate fiction.