Dear Mary: How can I tell her that her table manners are disgusting?

10 August 2013 9:00 am

Q. My mainly male colleagues and I were happy to learn that an attractive young woman would be joining the…

Melissa Kite is punished for ignoring the Madonna of the sea

3 August 2013 9:00 am

‘Benvenuti alla Small Cluster Band!’ And about time, too. We had been sitting in the Castello in Castellabate for half…

Will Melissa Kite’s former Italian waiter boyfriend stir up trouble again?

27 July 2013 9:00 am

‘Piccolo problemo.’ Luigi, the hotel manager, delivered the fateful news as he served me my first lemon soda of the…

In defence of Silvio Berlusconi

29 June 2013 9:00 am

The Bunga Bunga trial has shown that something is irredeemably rotten in Italy – but it isn’t the former prime minister

Investment: Why does so much always go wrong in August?

29 June 2013 9:00 am

Beware the holiday month when markets crash

When an economist turns into a winemaker

22 June 2013 9:00 am

My friend Mitch Feierstein is a jolly, cheerful, life-enhancing fellow. He is emphatically not one of those economists whose purse-lipped…

The lesson of France and Italy - the worse the country, the better the wine

25 May 2013 9:00 am

Although I promise to move on to drink, forgive me for beginning with a less interesting but even more complex…


2 March 2013 9:00 am

Political joke The Five Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, won 26% of the vote in the Italian general…

The Spectator’s Notes

2 March 2013 9:00 am

On the BBC television news on Monday night, the first three items concerned alleged misbehaviour by the famous — Cardinal…

Beppe Grillo: Italy's new Mussolini

2 March 2013 9:00 am

Beppe Grillo has much in common with Mussolini

Straying from the Way

26 May 2012 4:00 pm

No sensible writer wastes good material. A couple of years ago Tim Parks published a memoir, Teach Us to Sit…

A cult of virility and violence

19 November 2011 9:00 am

Mussolini’s brutal sex-addiction makes for dispiriting reading, but provides material for a fine psychological study, says David Gilmour

The scandal that inspired La Dolce Vita

13 August 2011 12:00 am

A new account of a classic Italian mystery

Wool of bat and lizard leg

16 July 2011 12:00 am

When Julia Blackburn and her Dutch husband Herman move into an old village house perched on a cliff high above the Italian Ligurian Riviera they become part of a dwindling community in a landscape of forests and deserted villages with roofless ruins almost swallowed up by the riotous undergrowth.

Bella vistas

9 July 2011 12:00 am

Many moons ago when I went to Sissinghurst to ask Nigel Nicolson (late of this parish) if I could write about his mother, Vita Sackville-West, he raised his hands, and eyebrows, in horror, ‘Oh! Not another book about my mother!’ These two titles on Italian gardens may provoke a similar reaction, for there has been a recent run of revisiting via Charles Latham’s vintage Country Life photographs, Edith Wharton’s Edwardian musings and Georgina Masson’s 1961 classic, now revived.

Heavenly simplicity

7 April 2011 12:00 am

When ingredients are as good as those to be found in the Italian region of Puglia, a cooks needs to do very little to create spectacular dishes. Charlotte Metcalf learns from a master

Keeping it real

7 April 2011 12:00 am

Italian food is about simplicity and seasonality, and in Sicily spring brings the fragrant lemon harvest – eagerly awaited in one corner of Devon. Hattie Ellis takes a trip to the mother country with a pioneer of real lemonade

A reluctant country

5 March 2011 12:00 am

The unification of Italy 150 years ago was a terrible mistake, according to David Gilmour, imposing a national state on a diverse collection of people with little sense of patria. But Barry Unsworth thinks it’s too early to cry failure

UnEnglish triumph

30 October 2010 12:00 am

Sometimes an exhibition does what it says on the tin. The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy, the Ashmolean’s first major show post-revamp, is such an exhibition.

Not so serene

9 September 2009 12:00 am

Is there anything original left to say about Venice? Probably not, but that doesn’t stop the books from coming, tied in, as they mostly now are, with a television series.

Acute observations

9 September 2009 12:00 am

In the 1950s, when I was 14, I spent a winter fortnight with my parents at the Villa Mauresque, which Somerset Maugham had lent to them to entertain the recently widowed Rab Butler and his daughter, Sarah.