Author: Deirdre Pirro

Deirdre Pirro, author of "Italian Sketches: The Faces of Modern Italy", published by The Florentine Press, is an international lawyer who lives and works in Florence. Her writing focuses on modern Italy, its people, its history and its customs. Follow her on Twitter @dp_in_florence or contact her at
September 20, 2007

Cirque du Orfei

The white turban covering her jet-black beehive hairstyle, the heavy black eyeliner, long false eyelashes and bright red lips all went out with the 1960s. Yet such outdated and eccentric attributes are what make Moira Orfei instantly recognisable to Italians when they see her face on billboards, announcing the
September 6, 2007

Aldo Moro

One of the most emblematic photographs of the socio-political events that occurred in twentieth-century Italy is that of the crumpled body of statesman Aldo Moro lying dead in the back of a battered, dark red Renault abandoned on via Caetani in Rome, halfway between the headquarters of the
July 26, 2007

Loris Fortuna

Consumed by passion for his beautiful 16-year-old cousin, Angela, the languid, droopy-eyed Sicilian nobleman, Baron Ferdinand ‘Fefè’ Cefalù decides he must have her at any cost. His big problem is that he is married to a woman with a moustache, Rosalia, with whom
June 28, 2007

Lina Merlin

In February 1958, the Italian Parliament enacted Law No. 75/1958 or the Law on the Abolition of the Regulation of Prostitution and the Fight Against the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. Widely called the ‘Merlin’ law, it came into force six months later. The law took
June 14, 2007

Pellegrino Artusi

Turning to writing after retiring from a successful career as a merchant in Florence in the late 1800s, Pellegrino Artusi was to produce the most influential cookbook published in Italy.   His La Scienza in Cucina e L’Arte di Mangiar Bene or, as it is known in English,&
April 5, 2007
The Tuscan TimesTRAVEL

Nothing could be nice…r!,

A popular Italian saying dictates that you should spend Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua dove vuoi (Christmas with your relatives and Easter wherever you want to). In that case, how about crossing the border and spending the holidays in Nice, on the French Riviera? About the same distance from Florence
February 8, 2007

The night the bridges come falling down

Rumours were rife all over the city. Many said the Anglo-American troops had already reached the outskirts of the city. However, one thing was certain. On the afternoon of August 3, 1944, the German High Command in Florence had the following ordinance displayed on the street corners: Beginning from
June 29, 2006

Raindrops kept falling

Smoking is politically incorrect these days, but there will always be the die-hards and rebels. Cigar smokers are among such free spirits. They consider themselves the royalty of smokers and will go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy their habit – even risking fines or imprisonment in America if caught
May 18, 2006

Take it without a pinch of salt

One story places all the blame on the Pisans. In fact, an old Tuscan proverb declares, Meglio un morto in casa che un pisano all’uscio, which roughly translated means ‘Better a death in the family than someone from Pisa on your doorstep’. This epitomises the rivalry
April 20, 2006

The oldest fast food in Florence

Any time from about 11:30 in the morning until into the evening, small crowds of people can be seen standing around mobile kiosks on street corners or in squares dotted about the centre of Florence. With their boiling cauldrons, marble or glass counters and stools on the pavement, these