Destinations Magazine

Italian Politics: The ex-Cavaliere is Back on His Horse

By Stizzard
Italian politics: The ex-Cavaliere is back on his horse

FEW events in Italy’s recent history have had a more crushing effect on morale than the wrecking of the Costa Concordia, an Italian-owned and skippered liner that capsized off the island of Giglio in January 2012. The giant vessel foundered with the loss of 32 lives as Italy, battered by years of economic stagnation even before the euro-zone crisis, seemed bound for default on its vast public debts. Silvio Berlusconi had just resigned as prime minister, internationally derided for his “Bunga Bunga” sex parties and relationship with a young Moroccan, Karima El-Mahroug (known as “Ruby Heartstealer”). Confirmation that the Costa Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, had left the ship before completing its evacuation prompted a bout of mortified soul-searching.The removal from Giglio on July 23rd of the refloated, if rusty, hulk was thus more than a triumph of salvaging skill and technology: it eased a huge symbolic weight from the national psyche. And it coincided with what Matteo Renzi, the newish prime minister, called “the start of a process of profound change”. On the same day, Italy’s upper house began voting…

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