Nicole Martinelli

Price is Right? Ask Your Cell Phone

Cash-strapped Italian consumers can now use text messages to tell them if the price is right. Euro-pinching shoppers thumb in product names — from pasta to produce and parmesan cheese — and a text message speeds back with the average retail price for North, Central and Southern Italy. Called “SMS

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High Heels? Just for Slackers

Italians, often admired for a relaxed lifestyle, have become suddenly preoccupied with slackers. It started with the Minister of Public Administration (the bureaucracy’s so overgrown it sprouted a minister), Renato Brunetta, who recently “outed” a record number of do-nothing workers. Truly the elephant in the country’s room, it turns out

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Italians Get Back to Business

Nowhere does the arrival of September make me want to get a haircut and buy some new pencils like Italy. Why? Because both of these back-to-school establishments are open, as of yesterday, after a month-long hiatus. Although a record number of Italians have felt the economic pinch hard enough to

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Police Say: Check Out Speed Trap Map, Please

Millions of Italians are hitting the roads in the August exodus, despite bloated gas prices and vacations shrinking faster than their bikinis. With the limit set at 80 mph in normal conditions on the Italian autostrada, you’d think speeding wouldn’t be a problem. Not so: fleeting Fiats and lurching Lancias

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From Politics to Reality Show: A Career Change?

The twists and turns of Italian politics rival any nighttime soap: one minute you’re Europe’s first transgender parliamentarian, the next you’re getting an extreme wax to prepare for a reality show. That’s the trajectory of Vladimir Luxuria, former Communist Refoundation representative, ousted from government — along with the rest of

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Black Models Are New Black, Says Italian Vogue

This month’s Italian edition of fashion bible Vogue features black models on the cover. Pithily called “A Black Issue,” in English, and it was hailed as a stereotype-breaking move much heralded in the international press before it came out. I read the articles, then forgot all about the controversy until

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