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 [email protected]
December 13, 2007


Jovial, plump and a superb communicator, Angelo Roncalli took the name of John XXIII when he was elected pope in 1958, at the age of 77. It was commonly believed that, given his age, he would be a ‘transitional’ pope, an interim pontiff until a more long-term
November 29, 2007

Pasquale Rotondi

His name is not a household word, not even in Italy, but it should be. Nor was his extraordinary story told until fairly recently. But, starting in 1940, for a period of five years, three months and eight days, a young, public servant, Pasquale Rotondi, a superintendent of the Artistic
October 31, 2007

Early Italian chick lit

The women are beautiful. Sometimes they are of humble origin, sometimes they are aristocrats but they are always striking. The men are handsome and dashing, often airmen or navy officers, but almost always attractive and debonair. And they are in love. Sometimes it is innocent and naïve, other
October 4, 2007

In the beginning was De Gasperi

Fifty years ago, on 27 March 1957, Italy, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg signed one of the most important treaties in modern European history. The Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community, now known as the European Union. The EU numbers over half a billion citizens,
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 Yet such outdated and eccentric attributes are what make Moira Orfei instantly recognisable to Italians when they see her face on billboards, announcing the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