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Is Italy better than Britain?

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Mark Easton | 12:46 UK time, Tuesday, 14 July 2009

"Dear Brits, we have beaten you at everything - and it's time you realised it"

Il GiornaleSo a headline ran in the Berlusconi-owned Italian paper Il Giornale yesterday.

As the former Fleet Street editor Derek Jameson used to say in his '80s TV show, "Do they mean us? They surely do!"

Often, it takes someone from outside to point out a country's failings. This list of unfavourable comparisons may have been prompted by the scandal-ridden Italian prime minister's fury at his treatment by the British press, but is there a scintilla of truth within the attack?

Politics
• Britain: Gordon Brown and his Labour party in crisis
• Italy: Authority since G8 summit has risen
 
Economy
• Britain: Failing banks
• Italy: No bank has needed to be bailed out
 
Fashion
• Britain: Savile Row little more than a bazaar
• Italy: 'Made in Italy' world's leading label
 
Tourism
No contest
 
Crime
• Britain:Europe's most violent nation
• Italy:Tough action has seen crime fall
 
Football
• Britain: England relies on an Italian manager
• Italy: World champions

Well, one could go through each of these in turn and argue the toss. But I don't think that is the British response to such provocation. In fact, I would like to suggest a list of things to love about Italy. Mr Berlusconi is clearly going through the wringer at the moment and far be it from us to make matters any more difficult for him.

So here is my top ten:

Picture shows Italian film stars and studio personalities in the studio during Italian Film Week, 1952. In this programme, which coincided with the opening of the festival week of Italian films in London, viewers saw extracts from four of the eight festival films. John Fitzgerald, who introduced the programme, with actress Gina Lollobrigida.

  1. Spag Bol
  2. The weather
  3. Tiramisu
  4. Fiat Cinquecento
  5. Gina Lollobrigida
  6. The Renaissance
  7. Frankie Dettori
  8. Vespa scooters
  9. Veneziana pizza (eat and save Venice)
  10. Limoncello

All additions gratefully received.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:20pm on 14 Jul 2009, Normski2000 wrote:

    I don't think there is any contest. Britain is snowballing downhill fast. Its violent, expensive and population is increasing at an unjustifiable rate. Another 10 or so years at this pace and the backbone of society (e.g. NHS, public transport system) will fail to cope. On the horizon are more tax increases and the average law abiding, tax payer gets very little back. Unfortunately Britain has very little to be proud of at the moment.

    Italy is far superior in every way - culture, lifestyle, weather etc... The scenery and food is delightful and it is simply a better run country with more to offer its inhabitants.

    See you in Milan!

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  • 2. At 1:26pm on 14 Jul 2009, Nativewoman wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 1:29pm on 14 Jul 2009, clickem wrote:

    Fellini, Mod suits

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  • 4. At 1:37pm on 14 Jul 2009, goldCaesar wrote:

    I can't beleive the Italians think that british tabloids have been particularly harsh in reporting on berlesconi - i've hardly seen him mentioned - if a british Mp had been alleged to have been involved with an underage girl it would have been wall to wall innuendo & rumour for months - faked up photos and all.

    But as the Italians clearly like home truths is it worth pointing out that Italian political and legal corruption are infamous accross the world,? whilst sexual misdemenours aside, their prime minister is dodgy as hell and treats the Italian political system as his plaything, just look at his glamour model ministers.

    I would even suggest that should a unit ever be devised to measure political corruption that it should be called the 'Berlusconi'.

    eg. British mps expense scandal = 0.2 Berlusconis etc.


    PS is the paper the article was rum in one of of Mr Berluconi's

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  • 5. At 1:58pm on 14 Jul 2009, Livelyfactfinder wrote:

    Oh dear. Berlusconi is really an embarrassment to the Italian Culture (as are many of the political heads). It is a shame as Italy does have many, many amazing things to be proud of. I am proud to be part of both the English and Italian cultures, but why is it that both of these two beautiful countries doesn't do more to create safety and stability for their (legal) residents. For this Italy and Britain are on par....put everyone else first to save face!

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  • 6. At 2:00pm on 14 Jul 2009, boismalet wrote:

    Ten great things about the UK that Italy doesnt have

    The Queen..Can anyone name the Italian president?, no Googling or Binging!

    English..No other country speaks Italian

    The BBC.Italian TV is all game shows, reality shows and sex.

    Joanna Lumley.need I say more?

    The Proms

    BroguesItalian shoes may look good but like so many Italian things (men included) they are style over substance

    The Bobby.Italian police couldnt even catch Michael Caine

    The British Museum

    The Angel of The North

    A press free from control by media barons.sorry I forgot News International and R Murdoch!

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  • 7. At 2:17pm on 14 Jul 2009, RichTeabiscuit wrote:

    Apart from better sanitation, medicine, education, irrigation, public health, roads, a freshwater system, baths, and public order ... what have the Romans done for us?

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  • 8. At 2:26pm on 14 Jul 2009, bigsammyb wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 2:28pm on 14 Jul 2009, Brian_NE37 wrote:

    Another Italian winner: The Berlusconi Show.

    There hasn't been a comedy show to match it in Britain for years.

    ;-)

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  • 10. At 2:40pm on 14 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    #4
    goldCaesar,


    According to your rule: the real Berlusconi = 4.37 Berlusconis
    :-)

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  • 11. At 2:43pm on 14 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    since england joined the common market we have been in decline our money was reduced and decimalised, our countries political leaders in recent years have leaned more towards europe than the people of this country needed and we have had to suffer rules from europe that have demoralized the people.
    italy may well be on the rise but they will never reach the heights the roman empire reached, and history notes that england was romes vietnam.
    england was at its best against the rest of the world not bowing and scraping to them.
    so italy may be happy on the rise but the british will get there in the end once we get a proper government and get out of europe.

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  • 12. At 3:01pm on 14 Jul 2009, goldCaesar wrote:

    10. At 2:40pm on 14 Jul 2009, Isenhorn wrote:
    #4
    goldCaesar,


    According to your rule: the real Berlusconi = 4.37 Berlusconis

    :-)

    ---------------------

    Your getting the idea - once we get to the African continent we'll find politicians as high as 20-25 berluisconis (taking foreign aid & sticking it in their own bank account).

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  • 13. At 3:22pm on 14 Jul 2009, ladybird wrote:

    The new Fiat 500 (even Jezza likes it)
    Ferrari and Lamborghini (at least Italy still has a car industry)
    Trains that run on time and tickets that cost next to nothing
    Parma ham
    Best wine in Europe
    Civilised drinking culture
    Espresso coffee
    Al Fresco dining
    The Verona Opera
    Francesco da Mosta

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  • 14. At 3:25pm on 14 Jul 2009, b223dy wrote:

    6. At 2:00pm on 14 Jul 2009, boismalet wrote:
    Ten great things about the UK that Italy doesnt have

    The Queen..Can anyone name the Italian president?, no Googling or Binging!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Doesn't the Queen have a fully registered name??? no Googling or Binging!

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  • 15. At 3:27pm on 14 Jul 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    Mark Easton.

    "..top ten ... additions gratefully received."

    Italian Alps, The Dolomites.

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  • 16. At 3:36pm on 14 Jul 2009, salterlee wrote:

    Its a shame this has to descend into petty nationalism. All European states are pretty similar, not least because they are members of the EU, WTO, IMF and so on. My partner and children are Italian, and those bemoaning the demise of "Great" Briton appear to have missed a thing or two that are different about Italy. As someone who has spent many months each year there for the past 10 years, I can make a few observations. Corruption is endemic. Try getting planning permission to build a house. Without bribes, it is a nightmare - took us 7 years to get permission to replace an existing building in on a brownfield site in a villiage my partner's family have lived in for 400 years! If the Mayor knows your family don't vote for his party, tough luck. The Mafia, Camora and other criminal organisations dominate social, economic and political life. It is VERY grim to live under those conditions, particularly in the South. They also control elections in Sicily and Naples.

    Those who assume they pay less tax and have less red tape, no they certainly don't. The tax system is a nightmare and bureaucracy is excessive - that's one of the reasons there is so much corruption - the bureaucratic measures introduced to stop in merely increase it as people try to get round them!!

    Politics is now dominated by a corrupt businessman who stays out of prison only because he changed the law on the "statute of limitations" so that his crimes didn't count. He controls his private political party with an iron fist. There is no opposition from party members, and its main objectives are 1, to keep the PM out of jail and 2, to further the PM's business interests. Pollution is incredibly bad, especially in the North. The levels of racism are terribly high too!

    However, the TV isn't half as bad as people make out. Yes lots of showgirls, but no Sun newspaper - even the local papers are of very high quality. TV news shows are frequent and well made. There are far more televised political debate programmes on television - they run most days, at prime time and for 3 hours!

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  • 17. At 3:43pm on 14 Jul 2009, Guido wrote:

    I am but I live in Manchester so am afraid there is no competition: Italy is country slowly rotting inside; it's the only country in europe with a racist/xenophobic party in government (Legs Nord) who has managed to approve a series of laws against immigrants of any descriptions (the equation is foreigner=criminal); it's one of the very few countries left with no law to recognise same sex couples and to prevent discriminations of any kind; Berlusconi is seriously trying to drastically limit the freedom of information and of the journalists; again Berlusconi has had laws approved to avoid trials for any crime he might have or will commit....do I need to continue?

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  • 18. At 3:57pm on 14 Jul 2009, foots2004 wrote:

    Being also of dual heritage I see that both countries have their good points and their bad - there's not much in it - but in this case let the Italians get their own house in order and worry less about berating the UK and indulging in dubious point scoring. If Berlusconi has an inferiority complex that the Italians are happy to stand behind then good luck to them.

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  • 19. At 4:13pm on 14 Jul 2009, jon112uk wrote:

    I guess they are being a bit tongue in cheek.

    On the whole they are correct about the basic idea that a country that what was once unequivocally top of the world pecking order is not any more - steadily surpassed by more and more countries since sometime around WW2. It's time people stopped having any illusions or misplaced pride about that.

    Better/worse than Italy? Hard to say.
    =================

    17. At 3:43pm on 14 Jul 2009, gbozzi
    "...Berlusconi is seriously trying to drastically limit the freedom of information and of the journalists..."

    How is that any different to here? We have a government forcefully suppressing debate, protest and even political parties who oppose their policy of mass importation of future labour voters. At one point they were even bringing in 'banana republic' all postal voting so they could fix elections. I don't think 'Great' Britain can claim any moral superiority on the freedom of speech issue.

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  • 20. At 4:38pm on 14 Jul 2009, the perfect fumble wrote:

    The very fact, that somebody feels compelled to state they are superior, means they are not.

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  • 21. At 5:36pm on 14 Jul 2009, SSnotbanned wrote:

    Ciao.
    Can I remember Ribot?But the fact that the Italians feel it necessary to crow about beating us(British) at everything forgets the.........
    'cool factor'......
    chill out and...
    ciao.

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  • 22. At 6:27pm on 14 Jul 2009, Alfred the OK wrote:

    Isn't the headline actually talking about (Inglesi) 'England' rather than 'Britain'?

    Mind you, doesn't the BBC always get England and Britain mixed up? Mustn't upset your new Labour masters, eh Mark?

    I think the greatest abuse of BBC Brit-speak was when supposed super brain Stephen Fry was on Breakfast TV to tell us just what being British actually meant. He waxed lyrical about this and that to Bill Turnball - then finished off his little piece by quoting Cecil Rhodes. Fry said "And wasn't it Cecil Rhodes who said 'To be born British is to have won the lottery of life"..... Bill agreed.

    Except that it wasn't was it? The actual quote is 'To be born English is to have won the lottery of life'. I can only assume Fry just couldn't utter the word 'England' - or else, he isn't as smart as he thinks!

    When is the BBC going to stop trying to wipe out my country. We are a nation, not a collection of Euro-regions.

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  • 23. At 6:38pm on 14 Jul 2009, joemc00 wrote:

    I suppose that a skydiver flying past would make a parachutist think that he wasn't falling.

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  • 24. At 7:20pm on 14 Jul 2009, jameschums wrote:

    Italy is a beautiful country, wonderful cities - Florence? England, umm..Bath and associated roadworks springs to mind. Food, um..wine..no I am struggling..err..Rugby! Okay, how do I emigrate then? Are houses affordable in Italy?

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  • 25. At 7:47pm on 14 Jul 2009, badgercourage wrote:

    #11 Delminster

    Actually, decimalisation was in March 1971

    We joined the (then) EEC nearly two years later, in January 1973 - then had a referendum to ratify this in June 1975.

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  • 26. At 8:03pm on 14 Jul 2009, rshsbth wrote:

    I live in Italy, you should try too. Italy is disfunctional, almost 3rd worldy, bad shops, bad roads, bad driving (horrendous accident rate), areas where household-rubbish isn't collected for weeks, unbelievable TV, crumbling buildings with or without earthquakes - including schools and hospitals, weird housing, everyone living on top of everyone else (without car parking), noise, low wages, no room for promotion, massive bank charges (no wonder they don't collapse), they only really concentrate on 1 or 2 sports which is at the very least boring (no Wimbledon on TV here). Plus, as Berlusconi's article highlights, they are very self congratulatory and believe they are world leaders!! All the foreigners i know here "put up with it" we don't love it. Britain doesn't know how good it is, this place will drive you nuts.

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  • 27. At 8:03pm on 14 Jul 2009, U14069953 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 28. At 8:22pm on 14 Jul 2009, mistyevita wrote:

    Crime
    Britain:Europe's most violent nation
    Italy:Tough action has seen crime fall

    Mark, have you heard of the word Mafia?

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  • 29. At 8:42pm on 14 Jul 2009, stanilic wrote:

    Only banana-republics need to think like this.

    The UK is not a republic and the bananas are imported.

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  • 30. At 9:20pm on 14 Jul 2009, jon_112 wrote:

    Ok, im shocked with quite how bias, and, frankly ridculous this is - and don't know where to start! (I'm pretty shocked a BBC editor has written this).
    Firstly, the economy, (I'm currently studying economics at uni) and on average over the past 17 years (including the recesion) Britain has seen substantially higher average growth than Italy, and the Italian economy is full of serious, structual long term problems and, as an economy is incomparable to Britain (Around 15% of its economic output is controlled by criminals, the mafia). It is in a much more severe long term decline as a major world economy.

    Secondly comparing Berlusconi to Brown in that way? Berlusconi has links with the Mafia, has been accused of many seroius crimes, has passed a law so he cannot be prosecuted, countless scandals with women (including putting models up for election!, please!)

    Please don't fall into the stereotypical wonderfull sunnt Italy, great weather, granted, but a country with such deep and serious problems it makes Britain look model.

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  • 31. At 9:37pm on 14 Jul 2009, dickierap wrote:

    Brown took the devastation that Blair started and enhanced it ten fold to put this country into the sorry state it is today.
    Yes every country has its own issues, but can anyone really believe that Britain is in anyway better than Italy, well maybe at Rugby, but then again they seem to be fast approaching our standard in that too.
    Italy has the best food, wine, scenery, culture, cars, language, etc, etc, etc.

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  • 32. At 9:40pm on 14 Jul 2009, lordpaperboy wrote:

    Mark

    Fiat Cinquecento is Polish car, please remove from Top 10.

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  • 33. At 9:57pm on 14 Jul 2009, TheElector wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 34. At 11:07pm on 14 Jul 2009, ground engineer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 01:07am on 15 Jul 2009, killedbymonkeys wrote:

    Mark Easton forgot in his top 10 Italian achievements, to mention the Roman Culture, Christianity, Byzantine culture, Catholic church, or, our unelected head of 'state', [and their theft]our two party system, unelected House of Lords and our inability to feel any remorse for our shameful recent past.

    A land of Colonel Mustards comparing themselves to wine, women, food and song. How shameful.

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  • 36. At 03:12am on 15 Jul 2009, marmarama wrote:

    The rubbish usually gets picked up on time in all of the UK. A 'Rubbish Crisis' is rare these days although some national crises are definitely rubbish.

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  • 37. At 06:57am on 15 Jul 2009, AJS wrote:

    If Britain's really that bad, then how come all the illegal immigrants want to come here?

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  • 38. At 07:26am on 15 Jul 2009, Daxiongmao wrote:

    An article on tourism from 8 years ago? Surely my 11.50 a month could have contributed to someone coming up with a more recent list? You forgot to mention that Italy only became world champions by piling insults on one of the sport's greatest ever players.

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  • 39. At 07:43am on 15 Jul 2009, Gowers great Tiger Moth incident wrote:

    Our once great nation is the laughing stock of europe. It is not just better in Italy, it's better in France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, etc. 'Average Joe' is taken to the cleaners in the UK. Let's not forget it's 'rip off Britain' - look at how EDF were allowed to hike electricity charges in the UK but permitted to do so in France. There's an unacceptbale level of taxation, we jump into any conflict with the US like we're still a major world power, we're not tough enough on migrants (USA has green card etc), crap weather, a major alcohol problem amongst younger people, etc, etc. Fact, Britain is on the decline... that's why I aint there any more. Life really is better away, I suggest you try it.

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  • 40. At 08:30am on 15 Jul 2009, blefuscu wrote:

    Britain did not start to go downhill prior to the Common Market (now EU). The moribund state of the economy made Britain beg to join. (Tories in early sixties, then Labour under Wilson and finally Tories under Heath). How many times did De Gaulle say 'Non'. That was taken as a slight at the time. De Gaulle said, quite rightly, that the Common Market was an organisation Britain could never feel at home in. He was right. Give the General credit for that.

    Forza Italia. No place like it. Just fun. Yes, inefficient and chaotic but alive. There is more humour in five minutes in Italy than in a month in England and life, being short, is about spontaneity. Not a British characteristic. Must be the climate and the 300 year old Protestant Guilt Trip not yet worked out. (Only a theory)

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  • 41. At 09:05am on 15 Jul 2009, blefuscu wrote:

    #30 Wonderful isn't it. It's just that Britain is not as in your face as Italy. It's 'hypocrisy' that is Britain's stock-in-trade. Not an Italian characteristic. Please don't for one second fall for the 'moral high ground argument'.

    In the final analysis, I'd say Italians survive by 'arrangiarsi' and make no bones about it. They believe all politicians are jerks and bank bosses 'cheats'. Who is to say they are wrong?

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  • 42. At 09:07am on 15 Jul 2009, Onlywayup wrote:

    Amazingly enough, Berluconi never mentions Italy's National Debt. Not only during the recession, which is over 110% of their GDP, but it had been over 100% of their GDP ages ago. When the EU tries to pull the strings to bring Italy in line with the EU 60% of GDP, Italy always mention that they have a very poor South and therefore the long term debt and deficit is justified to invest in the South. Ask the people in the South though, and they all say that nothing ever happens. Berlusconi did not say that their financial sector is non existent when compared with London's City. Berlusconi never mentions that Italy is the only country that has actually quartered it's share for poorer countries, while Britain has increased it's share over last year. Last but not least, all the World are well aware, that Berlusconi is always trying to be La Prima Donna, proved when World leaders gathered for a very important meeting like the G20 and comes out shouting over everyone else, "Haeo, Obama, Obama, come stai?" Even the Queen felt embarrassed and thought it was some kind of a hooligan, shouting in an arrogant and impolite manner.

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  • 43. At 09:35am on 15 Jul 2009, Shanbalileh wrote:

    What is the difference between Hell and Heaven

    Heaven is where
    1 Italians are the lovers
    2 French are the cooks
    3 Germans are the mechanics
    4 The Brits are the Police

    Hell is where
    1 The italians are the Police
    2 French are the mechanics
    3 Germans are the lovers
    4 The Brits are the cooks

    This is just a Joke All people every where are the same their governments however do make us all wonder sometimes.

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  • 44. At 11:25am on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    35. At 01:07am on 15 Jul 2009, killedbymonkeys wrote:

    "...the Roman Culture, Christianity, Byzantine culture, Catholic church, or, our unelected head of 'state'..."

    I'll give you first one - Italians are responsible for Roman Culture, albeit that they borrowed it from the Greeks.

    Christianity was not a Roman achievement - it was embraced, eventually, by Rome as a religion of choice, but they tried many more before that. They peddled it, but it was not theirs to achieve.

    Byzantine Culture was Byzantine, not Roman.

    The Catholic Church, as we know it today, was introduced by the Irish after England reverted to Paganism following the Roman departure and the Saxon invasion

    and finally, our 'unelected Head of State' is English of German descent. No Italian / Roman influence - or were you referring to the position of King / Queen - hardly a Roman achievement - there were Kings across Britain and Europe before the Romans arrived - they introduced Imperialism, not Monarchism.

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  • 45. At 11:47am on 15 Jul 2009, AntrimKatie wrote:

    I've lived in Italy for 3 years now and have learned to appreciate Britain as a result (I am an Irish national so it might be felt that I have quite another axe to grind). This headline is just the sort of drivel we have learned to expect from Berlusconi. This man is not a harmless Benny Hill but a live threat to European democracy. He's also immune; he could commit murder here and not be tried for it. The latest move is to pass legislation that will limit police surveillance activity to an unworkable number of weeks; a gift to the organised crime sector with which we know he is in league. If it weren't for internet access to the foreign press we would have no idea what was going on in this country; the director of RAI Uno is a personal friend of Berlusconi's so what would finish off any political career in the UK overnight just does not get aired. I will take those points in turn, with the exception of football about which I know little. Yes, no Italian bank have crashed, thanks to their cautiousness. But the place is awash with ads for loan companies, charging exorbitant interest, and they are much used. The 'Made in Italy' label is world-renowned, but what is available in most shops is predominantly imported, and the Made in Italy label frequently hides the produce of sweatshops staffed by immigrant workers (often Chinese), who have no rights whatsoever. We can say 'Tourism, no contest', and it's true that 75% of Europe's artistic patrimony is here, but so often in a state of complete abandonment. I so miss the organisation, the reliability, the quality of service to visitors that English Heritage, CADW, Historic Scotland and the National Trust provides. In terms of how historic patrimony is managed, there is just no comparison. Note that FAI, the Italian equivalent of the National Trust has been in existence about 30 years, does great work though it's still relatively small, and acknowledges absolutely candidly its inspiration by the National Trust. Crime is not the big deal Berlusconi would have you believe. My native Ireland is a significantly more dangerous place to live. He whips up hysteria about crime by demonising immigrants, whilst remaining predictably silent about the backhanders he has had from organised crime. A couple of things more...Naples is still awash with rubbish. Berlusconi had his photo opportunity with a shovel, and got the rubbish cleared from the city centre. It's still festering everywhere else. Italy DOES beat the UK with its education system, which is why we are here, and the scenery is wonderful and the weather great...but under Berlusconi that great postwar achievement in education is being systematically dismantled starting with the jewel in the crown of primary education (ranked eighth worldwide to the UK's 32nd). Minister Gelmini (whom you will find simpering in her sandals in the gossip magazines about 'not having found the right man yet' and about the fact she wasn't a 'swot' at school) has cut the numbers of primary teachers by between a third and a half. Rail travel is excellent, as is state healthcare...so far.

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  • 46. At 12:08pm on 15 Jul 2009, thornton_reed wrote:

    #1

    'The average law abiding tax payer'

    Flipping heck, its Al Murray!

    Are some people posting on here in the belief that what they see on 'Wish You Were Here' is somehow representative of the Italian way of life? It makes me shudder to think how blind some people are to the good in our way of life. Its not perfect by any means but we have it a damn sight better than others in certain aspects.

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  • 47. At 12:09pm on 15 Jul 2009, smallscalemap wrote:

    Considered intellectually, this attack by the Berlusconi newspaper is nonsense. Considered emotionally, it will doubtless persuade any Berlusconiites by appealing to Italian national pride. But the points of comparison made by the Berlusconi newspaper are not expressed in the conceptual language which is used for abstract thought and for the exchange of information. The newspaper simply gives two lists (one of positive points for Italy and the second of negative points about England), which could equally be replaced by a list of negative points about Italy (of which there are many) and a list of positive points about England (of which there are not a few). No two countries on this earth can accurately or usefully be compared in two unobjective lists. If you want to make a valid comparison, Mr Berlusconi, start with language, culture, and history (both past and recent). I think you'll find that England, Italy, and every other country on the planet has plenty of all three. And you'll unearth as many palatable and unpalatable things about your own country as you do about any other.

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  • 48. At 12:16pm on 15 Jul 2009, DeniseCullum222 wrote:

    Been to Italy very flash and has style were as we have fashion Italy is still a Fascist country, it is run by the Mafia we are run by Monarchy a type of low key Mafia. Italy has a pensioner who is a laugh not only to look at but his behaviour the Viagra king. Brown is more of your belligerent man that is typical of Britain with its lack of sunlight and dislike of show. I would trust Brown over Silvio any day if I had to make a chose but really I would not trust any Govenment for all their show and colour they are all the same. As this is a job for the mad, sad and bad and you can see that we in Britian have many mad in power, and many bad in the banks. We lack the passion and so the back bone the Italians suffered in the war and like most of Europe understood the mine set of the American Govenment unlike us who have this special relationship with it, which is we say what they want s to say because our Govenment thinks it has more power over the USA when all this end with the first world war, when the only country that did not have war on its patch was the USA. But proffered by the war of other people and kept Britian cold and hungry for years as it set out its plan to bring the NEW World Order. Italy is a republican country and excepts violence like passion and good food and speaking very sexy, what have we got the middle class which has become more since Thatcher lower middle class or trade as my godmother would call her. So Belaconi is just uncouth, for an Italian with his patch of hair his demand to be the first in the clue his loudness and need to pull naive women old enough to be his grand daughter is what makes him funny. But the people tend to be very nice and many look good and smell good, and their music is wonderful and I like their wine and food. Britian is dull and will always be so but that is what makes us interesting and we are so repressed and lack back bone we need to grow one and demand value for money from those in power, yes Italy has more colour so what?

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  • 49. At 12:25pm on 15 Jul 2009, scarrafone wrote:

    In your top 10 list I am surprised you have not included tax evasion. Italy must be amongst the world leaders in this discipline....

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  • 50. At 12:47pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    Are apples better than pears?
    Are planes better than ships?

    It's all a matter of perspective and taste. In the case of Italy versus Britain, they are just as diverse and different, and some. All one can do is draw comparisons, but opinion will always be divided.

    I love Italy, as a visitor. I've visited Milan, Rome and Palermo on business and for pleasure, many times, and my favourite city is Rome. As a place, immersed as it is in history, it puts itself on display for all to touch and intimate with. Sitting in the Piazza Navona - I know, it's full of tourists - people watching, chewing on some pasta and sipping on a Pinot Grigio is hard to beat, for me. Well, ok, lounging on a Mauritian Beach might come close, but it's all about perspective and taste.

    The English have many cultural links with Italy, thanks to Roman occupation and subsequent trade links over the centuries. You could say that England itself was a Roman achievement, at least in that they mapped out the boundaries and the Saxons simply took it. We can blame the Romans for the Welsh, Scottish and Irish disdain for the English. It is derived from an historical hatred for the Saxon invaders - the Welsh are the descendants of the original ancient Britons, driven west by the Saxons.

    Names in use today - any place name ending in IA, or a derivative thereof, is named from it's Latin origin. Anglia, Bulgaria, Austria, Espana, Hibernia, Caledonia, Italia, Tunisia, Libya, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Algeria and they go on and on and on - all the way to Australia, Malaysia, Polynesia and Asia itself.

    But that is Roman, not Italian. The Italians have style and taste in equally preposterous proportions. Only an Italian man can wear blue Corduroy with a green shirt, brown belt and orange shoes and still look the part. Anyone else would look ridiculous. Their food is pretty good too - Italian food comes 2nd only to Indian food for the most popular take-away in the UK - ok, that's Pizza deliveries, and a poor copy of the real thing at that.

    So, who is better. I could go into matters of the Industrial Revolution, Engineering, Technology, Mining, Manufacturing and Fabrication - all areas in which Britain, not England, led the world. Britain and Rome both had their Empires, and that is the basis for our commonalities, but it does not end there. Our languages are both rooted in Latin, although both have diversified since those days. There are family links in both directions, even my school, during the late 1970s and into the 1980s had an annual pilgrimage to Milan for a skiing trip to the Alps - ok a tentative link at best.

    But the newspaper article in question was surely stating that Italy is better than England TODAY. Hardly. Really? Are they sure? I respect Italy for what it has done for the world, and I enjoy Italy for its beauty and for the temperate climate, but today, Italy and Britain no longer hold Imperial status, but are simple EU states. Britain has its problems and so does Italy. I do business with Italian Aviation (all of them), and it's a minefield of bureaucracy and red-tape. Mafia, corruption and criminality is a more common business trait than is free trade, open markets and fair competition.

    We might be on a slide, but all in all, I think that the UK does a good job compared with some. There are problems - huge problems in the UK, and corruption exists too, but where it exists, it is likely to be discovered, and where it is discovered, it is generally brought into the open by the media. We know about the corruptions going on here, and make effort to correct that. We've known about the Italian Governments corruption for many years, maybe decades, but what's been done to correct that.

    Yes, Italy is better than England, Britain, UK, take your pick. Better at ignoring its own problems and allowing a beautiful country to be governed by a political joke.

    Has everyone forgotten the Lira already?

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  • 51. At 1:01pm on 15 Jul 2009, bibi-j wrote:

    To be fair to all nations, not just GB and Italy - very few people have a lot of good things to say about their politicians. If it's not duck ponds, it's inappropriate behaviour with members of the opposite (or same?) sex. While the two are scandals of differing scale they have the same impact on a populations confidence in their politicians.

    One thing that can be said about Italy is that there isn't the obsession with having to own your own property in order to call yourself a real grown up. Perhaps if the Brits had a more relaxed view on home ownership (or not) the financial situation in the country wouldn't be quite so dire.

    As an Italian happily living in the UK I can testify to the fact that both are great nations that have a lot to be proud of. There are horses for all courses so we should just learn to get on and accept our differences - and take less note of what our politicians say in an attempt to get back at eachother.

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  • 52. At 1:14pm on 15 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    Every nation has its pros and cons. The best thing about Italy is the lifestyle. Unlike Britain (and Ireland) the national pastime is not getting blind drunk at every available opportunity, and people work to live, not viceversa. The education and healthcare systems are much better than in the UK, and people receive a decent state pension instead of the insulting pittance paid out in the UK. Families are much more stable and solid than in Britain and you don't see the dysfunctional, violent society that is so prevalent in the UK. As in other continental countries there is a 'social contract' between citizens and government that ensures the welfare state works to care for all, not just dysfunctional minority groups. As in other Western countries, immigration from poor countries has brought social problems, but not as severe as in the UK or France. Then of course you have the splendid hot weather, the best cultural places to see in the entire world, great historic towns and cities, and stunning mountain scenery where you can escape the heat of the lowlands. Unlike Britain there isn't the tendency to micro-analyse everything every little piece of political news, because not much really changes, and people are not interested in anything that does not affect them directly, especially financially.

    On the downside, many Italians can be difficult to deal with and are often downright rude. They also like to make a profit out of everything they do and will happily and shamelessly rip you off if they can get away with it. This is considered normal practice. Doing the simplest things can take a long time in Italy because of the ultra-bureaucratic approach and, in particular, government agencies are a nightmare to deal with. Doing things quickly goes against the grain of Italian mentality. Most Italian women are unbelievably spoilt and fastidious, and expect their men to spend a fortune to satisfy their every whim, while children are so noisy in groups (including school groups) that you can hear them from miles away. Children as a whole are fussed after constantly and tirelessly, to the annoyance of everyone who is not a child. Eating out is a very much a 'hit or miss' affair - although Italian food is among the best in the world, many Italian restaurants offer distinctly mediocre and expensive dishes. As with so many things in Italy, you need to be 'in the know' to eat out well.

    Take your pick - which country is best to live in? It depends on you.

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  • 53. At 1:50pm on 15 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "If any one is in any doubt what a corrupt, rotten at the core, ill-disciplined, lazy, shallow and moribund culture modern Italy has turned into, they should read Tobias Young's 'Dark Heart of Italy'. I'm no relation or friend - it just concurs with everything I experienced when I was there. "

    I have to confess I disagree. I have read the book and it's a ranting and rather tedious distaribe against Berlusconi. Actually, Berlusconi no worse and in many cases better than previous Italian political leaders like Andreotti, Craxi etc. The difference is that Berlusconi is very rich and he does not hesitate to show it - I guess that's why he is hated so much, especially by the Left. As for corruption, it exists, but it's just game you have to play and learn to live with, like so many things. Laziness from public servants is an issue, but then Italians work to live, not the opposite, and that's no bad thing. Things do get done, it's just that you have to wait a little longer. As for the shallow culture, this is surely pot calling kettle black, is it not? Just watch ITV on a Saturday evening as evidence (or even BBC1, alas).

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  • 54. At 1:52pm on 15 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    Granted, Italy has better food, better weather, and a more successful banking system than we do.

    As for football, who cares? It's only a game.

    As for politics, we have Brown, they have Berlusconi. I'd say that's pretty much a draw.

    But consider this: where in Italy can you get a decent pint of real ale?

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  • 55. At 1:58pm on 15 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "Amazingly enough, Berluconi never mentions Italy's National Debt. Not only during the recession, which is over 110% of their GDP, but it had been over 100% of their GDP ages ago. When the EU tries to pull the strings to bring Italy in line with the EU 60% of GDP, Italy always mention that they have a very poor South and therefore the long term debt and deficit is justified to invest in the South. Ask the people in the South though, and they all say that nothing ever happens. Berlusconi did not say that their financial sector is non existent when compared with London's City"

    Yes, national debt is high in Italy, but so what? Debt can be managed. As long as it is steadily reduced, albeit slowly, then progress is made. Reducing debt drastically would cause a severe economic depression in Italy and probably civil unrest. Although much remains to be done in the South at least the infrastructure has improved in recent decades. The real problem in the South is the Mafia, which routinely gets its clammy hands on funds that are targeted for economic development. This is the big issue for the South of Italy, and it's still unresolved.
    As for the financial sector, yes it's small and relatively unimportant compared to the behemoth that is the City, but unlike in Britain manufacturing industry is still alive and kicking. Most 'white goods' for kitchens are made in Italy and FIAT is still making and selling cars.

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  • 56. At 2:04pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    51. At 1:01pm on 15 Jul 2009, bibi-j wrote:
    "...take less note of what our politicians say in an attempt to get back at eachother..."
    Hear Hear.
    Bravo
    Hip Hip Hoo-bleedin'-ray for common sense.

    Caro bibi-j
    I couldn't agree more, Ciao

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  • 57. At 2:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, djmikeyc wrote:

    The Italians are just upset that they don't have an empire that covers a large proportion of the known world any more.

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  • 58. At 3:03pm on 15 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    number 25 i remember the vote and how corrupt it was, every one knows ted heath got a nice new yacht out of his pledge.
    decimilization was the turning point that threw this once proud independent nation into the EEC and since has caused no end of harm to this country by nations that honestly only do it out of fear of us.

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  • 59. At 3:04pm on 15 Jul 2009, bibi-j wrote:

    57. At 2:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, djmikeyc wrote:
    "The Italians are just upset that they don't have an empire that covers a large proportion of the known world any more."


    No need to comdenm an entire nation for the ramblings of an ageing and apparently insecure billionaire! A little more tolerance would do us all a great deal of good.
    And how long has it been since empires mattered?! This is the 21st century. Let's embrace our differences rather than trying to assimilate others. We could all learn a lot from eachother.

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  • 60. At 3:13pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    57. At 2:26pm on 15 Jul 2009, djmikeyc wrote:

    "...The Italians are just upset that they don't have an empire that covers a large proportion of the known world any more..."

    Unlike Britain, for instance? I think the report is more centred on the present rather than the ancient past, a time when Italy and Britain had more in common than they do today.

    In the vein of Marks original request, here is my top 10 list of things to like about Italy (today), in no particular order!

    1. Parma Ham
    2. Pinot Grigio
    3. Passion
    4. Roma
    5. San Marino - not strictly Italy, but contained wholly within
    6. Pasta
    7. Ice Cream
    8. Bread - there are some beautiful Italian breads
    9. Coffee and Biscotti
    10. Italiano, Ciao e Grazie

    Let's leave it on a positive ending! Bella Italiano

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  • 61. At 3:15pm on 15 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "The Italians are just upset that they don't have an empire that covers a large proportion of the known world any more."

    LOL! Pot calling kettle black again, although it's true that the English language has been spectacularly successful in the way it has spread around the world. This has definitely been a cultural triumph - probably the greatest triumph of British culture. Italian has remained a very parochial language, although Argentina nearly adopted Italian as its official language, due to the large number of Italian immigrants into that country.


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  • 62. At 3:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, Onlywayup wrote:

    L'Italia di Berlusconi:

    By Lorenzo Totaro
    March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Italys public debt, the highest among the 27 nations of the European Union, rose last year as the economy contracted the most in more than 30 years, the countrys central bank said today.
    The debt climbed to 105.8 percent of gross domestic product from 103.5 in December 2007, the Bank of Italy said in a faxed statement. The debt reached 108.1 percent of GDP in January 2009, the central bank also said.
    Italy will contract 2.6 percent in 2009 after shrinking 1 percent last year, Bank of Italys deputy director general, Ignazio Visco, said on March 4. The budget deficit rose in 2008 to 2.7 percent of GDP, the Rome-based national statistics office, Istat, said on March 2. This years budget deficit will widen to 3.7 percent of GDP and overall debt will soar to 110.5 percent of output from 105.9 percent, the government forecast on Feb. 9.
    Italy should raise the retirement age for women as a way to stop pension costs from increasing, European Union finance ministers said on March 10. As pensioners become a larger part of the population, falling tax receipts and increased government spending threaten to swell the overall debt.

    Since March 2009, Italy's economy has been shrinking much faster then that of the UK. One wonders why the BBC never mentions our European neighbour's economy performance! Well done caro Silvio! Sei il piu gran idiota del mondo!

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  • 63. At 3:40pm on 15 Jul 2009, DoctorCudj wrote:

    Its pretty even. I dont care how flippant this remark seems, but I live in Italy and I am British. There are good and bad things all over the world, but many things in Italian Society make me want to chew glass, and watch Ben Stiller movies in reverse. particularly the media, which started this whole blog thing. British people are good at complaining (democracy), and the Italians are good at following the herd (facism/Vatican city).
    Also, despite the whole worlds opinion that Italian food is the best, try it for a year without the words 'horribly insipid' coming to your mind. Burlesquoni is actually just a science experiment gone wrong, born from a petri dish containing the DNA of Frank Sidebottom, Frank Sinatra, and a frankfurter sausage.
    Viva Calabria.

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  • 64. At 3:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, sidsaucer wrote:

    The Italians certainly know how to make a wedding spectacular and memorable. This sequence of events reads like a script from "Some Mothers' Do 'ave 'em": http://news.uk.msn.com/odd-news/article.aspx?cp-documentid=148559235

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  • 65. At 4:20pm on 15 Jul 2009, eliousa wrote:

    I ve been living in UK for three years now and I totally agree with the point of Italy underclassing Britain on many sides:
    CRIME: in Italy it's decreasing sharply ( MAFIA INCLUDED) thanks to some really tough laws
    FOOD: I don't think it s worthy even to start this comparison
    ECONOMY: GB is the european country who suffered and is suffeing more for the recession and Italy has such a huge national debt only because of the previous governments
    FASHION: Is it really worthy to start???
    POLITIC: not true at all that LEGA NORD is a racist party but it is a party who helped our country to avoid to be full of immigrants with no jobs and usually drug dealers or criminals anyway
    WEATHER: Anyone want to start this topic????

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  • 66. At 4:25pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    64. At 3:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, sidsaucer wrote:
    "...The Italians certainly know how to make a wedding spectacular..."

    Yes, I read that story too - it made me chuckle. If that had been here, they'd have been convicted under health and safety laws, and probably charged with endangering an aircraft!!!!!!

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  • 67. At 5:31pm on 15 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    re #65. At 4:20pm on 15 Jul 2009, eliousa wrote:
    "...WEATHER: Anyone want to start this topic???? ..."

    My dad's bigger than your dad, nah nah na nah nah! :-)

    I don't think we can use the weather to 'better' Italy over the UK. I may as well say that the UK has better grass and heathland. That's a circumstance of geography, not politics or national identity. Whilst it is true that Southern Europe benefits from a better climate than Northern Europe, and NW Europe, particularly UK and ROI, neither history nor culture can claim a hand in it.

    We can all state that we have National Pride, but do we really when it just boils down to a slagging match over who has the best coffee and who has the worst tea. Blah blah blah!

    The difference here, however, is that the UK is not allowed to demonstrate its National Pride for fear of being seen as Imperialistic or Racist, or Nationalistic, or just simply proud.

    Mark, can we have a blog on what is good about the UK alongside the what is good about Italy. I have a feeling there would be plenty of good to say about both.

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  • 68. At 6:34pm on 15 Jul 2009, bemahad wrote:

    the italian newspaper article was provocative and published in a Berlusconi paper just after a perceived successful G8 meeting which had just finished in L'Aquila - but if you actually look at the what happened in the city destroyed by earthquake and the reaction of the people I think you will see the true Italy - "Yes We Camp" was the protesters slogan written on hills above the town - they unlike Silvio were fed up of "thinking of it as a holiday" it was very cold in April and its very hot there now - a lot of the people who died were in public buildings that should have withstood the quake (an enquiry is under way as to why they didnt and who is to blame) - when you check back this winter to see what has happened to the campers perhaps some of them would like to answer the leader question and you might like to ponder that if a similar event had occurred in Britain how different things may ( or may not ) have been

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  • 69. At 7:34pm on 15 Jul 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Where does all this pessimism and misery about Britain come from?

    It really is a mystery to me!?

    Even this Blog Article has a go at the British Isles indirectly and the 'lets laugh it off' sideline doesn't really hold true.

    Italy is a lovely place. So long as you don't live in a tent after your gerry-built house collapsed 10 years ago in an earthquake, or, you don't have a son or daughter in the Sicilian Police or Judiciary expecting to collect their pension, or, for that matter, live/own anywhere on the mainland that big-Italian-business does want to build on because you will be moved one way or another, and then, there's the Italian male... lookout females becasue if you think they accept 'no' a 'slap' or a 'scream' as meaning you are not interested then think again! That's leaving aside the volatile admirers of Mussolini and Red Brigades and the old adage 'see Naples and...' is unfortunately only too true of many Italian inner-city urban areas!

    Come on! I've lived and worked occasionally in Italy over the past 40 years: It's a lovely country with many fine points, but, it isn't the UK/England, but then, UK/England isn't Italy... geographically, historically, politically, socially, culturally... WHY would anyone except the nut-job 'pro-EU' lobby want to draw comparisons?

    It is an EU ploy to have Nations compare and then suggest everything would be so much better if everybody was the same!

    Whole swathes of the British Isles are not overwhelmed with youthful thugs, violent criminals, feckless parents, con-job immigrants, failing schools, hospitals: In fact when the average Brit drinks his pint or wine this evening they'll be doing it and complaining about all the above when nothing of the sort is their actual experience!

    UK/England has a Welfare Service from cradle to grave (something Italy definitely does not), some of the very best public and state schools, universities, hospitals, top-notch global businesses, superb armed forces, brilliant theatre from Bard to Lloyd-Webber to Bangra, awesome quality BBC and independent tv, a heritage from Lands End to John o'Groats that is diverse, exciting and thoroughly worthwhile, some of the finest scientists (Hawkins), technologists (Sinclair), engineers (Bayliss), entertainers e.g McCartney, Winslet, Day-Lewis, McKellan etc., premiership football (Italy are worthy Champs, so what their Serie A is rubbish, but that's the point of football, everyone has a chance), and for all their faults UK Road, Rail, Air and Sea transport systems/hubs that are amongst the most efficient in Europe (see Italy for examples of how not to run rail and airways!).

    Naturally, there is a lot more and for every plus no doubt someone can point to a minus, but, quite why the British delight so much in doing down ourselves I have never understood: And when that is compounded by a representative Editor Journalist of the BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION joining in the 'laugh' at his License Fee Payers' Nation's expense then I too can point to a minus.

    Personally, I know we live in a democracy and so you can write an Article like that above, but to my mind Mr Easton, it's this sort of stuff that lets you and the BBC down very badly and the BBC should be ashamed it Published it!

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  • 70. At 7:46pm on 15 Jul 2009, mick_lemmerman wrote:

    For a possibly objective view, you can compare key country statistics for the UK and Italy on the offical EU stats site (see that page for explanations and periods reported) http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/. Many, many of the stats are very similar. What is notable (to me at least):
    GDP per capita in PPS: UK 117.5, ITA 100.5
    General government debt: UK 52.0, ITA 105.8
    Life expectancy at birth Males: UK 77.33, ITA 78.50
    Life expectancy at birth Females: UK 81.68, ITA 84.20
    Hours worked per week of full-time employment: UK 43.0, ITA 41.1
    Pupil/teacher ratio in primary education: UK 19.4, ITA 10.5
    Percentage of the adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training: UK 19.9, ITA 6.3
    Death due to cancer, per 100,000: UK 179.3, ITA 164.9
    Death due to ischaemic heart diseases, by per 100,00: UK 97.9, ITA 64.1
    Percentage of Households with Internet access: UK 71, ITA 47
    Broadband penetration rate: UK 27.5, ITA 18.1
    Mobile phone subscriptions (per 100 inhabitants): UK 115, ITA 134
    National long distance calls (Euros per 10 minutes): UK 0.44, ITA 0.22
    Electricity generated from renewable sources: UK 10.0, ITA 22.55
    People killed in road accidents: UK 3058, ITA 5669
    Gross domestic expenditure on R&D: UK 1.79, ITA 1.13
    High-tech exports: UK 26.48, ITA 6.35

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  • 71. At 8:27pm on 15 Jul 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    mick_lemmerman and #70.

    To be fair you did write "..for a possibly objective view..."

    Nothing and I do mean absolutely nothing can be taken as unbiased/unteinted/unprejudiced that is Published officially by the EU.
    The organisation has no interest whatsoever in facts and total concern with spin to suit its 'Federalist agenda'.

    The EU Commission and Parliament plus the EUrocrats obsession with 'spinning' the line that 'EU is good - independence no good' makes every statistic it produces as reliable as casanova in a nunnery (to bring a little Italian flavour to the comment).

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  • 72. At 8:52pm on 15 Jul 2009, alphablogging wrote:

    Someone earlier mentioned that they thought LEGA NORD has saved Italy from immigrants. Well, hello - every country in the world has immigration, not only Italy, and perhaps a little compassion for those who are fleeing war, poverty and starvation would be an idea, don't you think? I imagine that anyone with the same circumstances would be trying to emigrate!!

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  • 73. At 9:04pm on 15 Jul 2009, tonyred wrote:

    TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING ITALIAN
    1. In-depth knowledge of bizarre pasta shapes.
    2. Unembarrassed to wear fur.
    3. No need to worry about tax returns.
    4. Glorious military history prior to 400 a.d.
    5. Can wear sunglasses inside.
    6. Political stability.
    7. Flexible working hours.
    8. Live near the Pope.
    9. Can spend hours braiding girlfriend's armpit hair.
    10. Country run by Sicilian murderers.

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  • 74. At 9:50pm on 15 Jul 2009, alphablogging wrote:

    Another great thing about Britain - you don't get followed around shops by shop assistants just because you have a foreign accent (and that means you are a criminal and there to steal) as is far too often the case in Italy!

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  • 75. At 9:57pm on 15 Jul 2009, deliziosa5 wrote:

    sorry, ladybird, trains in italy NEVER, and I mean NEVER run on time.

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  • 76. At 10:05pm on 15 Jul 2009, deliziosa5 wrote:

    and sorry, eliousa, what are you on?? Lega Nord? Tough laws? There is no such thing as tough laws in italy. Anyone can get off anything with patience and the right friends. THe problem with crime in Italy is mainly ITALIAN crime - not imported from abroad as the Lega Nord would like to have us believe. The mafia is alive and doing very well, thank-you very much,also by exploiting foreigners who would love to have a work permit and pay taxes (unlike very many italians ) but are not given the chance.
    And I live in Italy, love the country and the people but with open eyes, not "foderate di prosciutto" like many italians living abroad...

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  • 77. At 10:16pm on 15 Jul 2009, alphablogging wrote:


    re:At 10:05pm on 15 Jul 2009, deliziosa5 wrote:

    Well said deliziosa5!

    I live in Italy too and there are lots of great things and great people but the attitude towards foreigners really isn't ok!

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  • 78. At 10:33pm on 15 Jul 2009, yellowsandydog wrote:

    I agree with everything on the list except limoncello. It reminds of me of lemon scented cleaning fluid.

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  • 79. At 11:27pm on 15 Jul 2009, Jack Kilms wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 80. At 01:08am on 16 Jul 2009, poppystealth wrote:

    I agree that to make comparisons as Burlusconi has done is very school playground. But I am compelled to respond due to how close this is to my heart. Almost all of his points leave me gobsmacked because the reality is really too different for anyone without full understanding of both the UK and Italy to grasp.

    FOOD I don't know how many Italians have told me so assuredly that Italian food is the best in the world.... Because whilst the suocera makes some amazingly tasty dishes, I have found most italians very limited in their tastes and dishes and supermarkets bare of so many exciting ingredients. Compare this with the UK and our huge appreciation for foreign cuisine Italian/Other meditteranean, Indian, Thai, Cinese, Mexican...and the limitless ingredients we can find to widen our own tastes and experimental cooking. (Try finding some goats cheese in your average supermarket in Italy and paté I have never found yet) Italians don't seem to realise that we've got it all in the UK now! It seems to me the problem with Italy is its failure to move forward and welcome change and new (yes even foreign) influence. On this point I will add I totally agree with Italy's problem of intolerance...and its now something I'm more proud of the UK for. Luckily I love almost every food, italian ingredients included, but the UK has all of that, and more! Italy doesn't seem to welcome foreign imports so most are also ignorant of what they are missing (making their statement about their food a tad unfounded).

    FASHION No one in the UK (except those who really know Italy) will realise easily that the credit given to Italy for fashion is way undue. Again like food, most Italians dress safe and while this may make them look very smart and sophisticated, also means (to me at least) boring and unadventurous. The Made in Italy label is so huge around the world because its a country full of factories, which churn out a lot of low grade stuff, and employ a lot of the population. To me, sadly, Made in Italy has become the european equivalent of Made in Tawain yes there can be some good quality stuff produced, but its by no means a label of assurance.

    CRIME what a disgrace that the Italian government has the gall to mention the word knowing their own reality corruption which keeps the potential success of the country(but not the leaders) down.

    The TV really does seem full of soaps and reality TV shows in Italy. REPORT is one good weekly program but it is no secret that the good investigative giornalists have restrictions on their broadcasting which many running at unsociable hours. Remember, Berlusconi owns most of the media (TV and newspaper).

    ....Oh I am rambling and it is late, and there are so many other things to say that Brits and Italians alike should know, like banking differences, health system, other systems (..DVLA all is forgiven!!), but I'll just go as far as to say that the UK is better than most of its population appreciates, and some of its faults we should be proud of. I know that the UK continue to drive forward and try to be better next time. I can't say I feel so optimistic for the Italians, and I wish them luck and more courage (a lesson maybe from the brave and passionate souls in Iran.) Us brits have been spoilt for so long and during a crisis we think its doomed. No its not. We had more credit so we got in more trouble. I don't think Italians have the same luxuries as the UK hence some (limited) immunity to certain aspects of the credit crunch, but not the crisis.

    The UK expenses shame awful, yes. But I am proud that the UK seems to be constantly moving forward, updating laws and legislations and exposing and shaming. This is what gives the UK more integrity on the whole.

    I can't imagine ever seeing this sort of exposure in Italy, and even when MPs are shamed, they laugh, not resign. And everything is soon forgotten. The UK media doesn't let go when it gets its teeth into a corrupt or shameful MP, and so we don't let them get away with it! In Italy, who controls the media? How do they keep the population in ignorance? Its censorship that puts a question over freedom of speech and information.

    Italy is a country crippled by its [italian] criminals, who stop progress and lead a dissatisfied population. I'm so disappointed and saddened by this realisation.

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  • 81. At 01:15am on 16 Jul 2009, brettcself wrote:

    I prefered Matchbox cars made in Lesney.

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  • 82. At 01:26am on 16 Jul 2009, poppystealth wrote:



    rshsbth - I couldn't agree with you more

    Sad but true, Italy's tourist industry (and its undoubted natural beauty in places) is the only thing that gives foreigners the lovely impression they have.

    Great wine, food, clothes...?? You can get it all in Sainsburys for less than in its country of origin! And italians get paid less!!

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  • 83. At 01:56am on 16 Jul 2009, Fashling wrote:

    OK, here's my two-penneth worth:

    I'm a Brit (not always proud to admit it must be said, but that's for another day why), British/Italian parentage and have lived for the last 7yrs in Rome, and married an Italian 4 weeks ago - just outside Rome.

    There are so many comments made about the things that are wrong in Italy, that as much as I would like to quote them, I fear I would never get to bed, so I apologise in advance for repeating what others have said.

    Italy is on the surface to the would-be tourist/traveller a spectacular and wondrous place to live - and in fairness is could be if it wasn't for so many things that are just so wrong about the place!

    The main thing that has to be addressed is that the media is controlled by Berlusconi - therefore, what the world sees is very much filtered down and screened so as not to make the place seem like it is a dreadful place to live.

    Crime is terrible here - but as not to make it look bad, it is carefully reported. The police are governed by different authorities and their corruption levels are determined by "who you know?" or "how much you got?"

    I can give you so many examples of corruption/just plain wrong things in the police just on the street - again, I think I would never make it to bed - so I shall just use one that always make me smile.

    Work colleague got stopped for speeding - couldn't pay the on the spot fine - no money handed over with the driving license - so was taken by the police to a bar and was told to buy them breakfast and that would be the end of that! He was escorted in the police car to the nearest bar and paid for breakfast, then was left there as the officers had almost finished their shift and didn't have tome to take him back to his car!

    The banks as has been mentioned before are a joke.....Yes, they haven't needed bailing out, and for good reason. You want to buy a house? Find a house first, put a holding deposit down (minimum of 5000euros normally) and then you can go to the bank and ask for a hugely inflated charges mortgage. You get refused, you pay the bank for the privilege of trying to sort it out and consequently lose the deposit/holding on the property.

    You want to close an account? That will cost you a small fortune, but will take at least a month to sort out how much, which means another month of charges, which then affects the amount you will have to pay for the closure, so it passes to another month, etc etc.

    Good things about the banks thought - you need a new card, they will give you a nameless - numbered bit of plastic and pin over the counter (and this is also true for cheque books) - brilliant.....But it will take a minimum of 3hrs of waiting in a queue to be served.....

    The roads in Italy are a joke. Britain was reported as having stretches of road that were no more than 150mtrs that didn't have a hole. On my way to work, I am lucky to find 50 meters of road that is road and not full of holes. I have replaced 7 wheels so far, and will find out tomorrow if I will make it 8 due to the state of the roads.

    The rubbish collection is appalling - Where my house is, we pay 70euros a quarter for rubbish collection, and the bins are emptied twice daily. 300yrds down the road, they are lucky to be emptied twice in a week.....But this does have it's advantages as the refuse will find it's way into the holes and administer a slight bit of relief to the wheel and tyre damage for a coupe of days in the week!

    Pollution in Italy is horrific. You can tell how hot the day will be at 7:30-8:00am by the visibility of the ski resort mountains through the morning smog. Less visibility = hot and very polluted - and my work place is 30kms from the "entry" to the city limits. You should walk round the Colosseum and see the colour change as you move round from pedestrian side to road side - Zebra's are less obvious in their markings....Plus, this Monument and Modern 7 world wonder is cleaned twice a year!

    Graffiti is rife in Italy. If it can be painted by a can, it will - nothing is sacred to this nation - and it's not "new", some of it is dated from the 60's (and of course sprayed over as the Italians have run out of space elsewhere to tag).

    Animal waste is almost as common as the graffiti. You will know when you are in a more "posh" part of the cities as there is more dog poo on the pavement - as the owners have money to afford to feed the animals. You are safer walking on the road everywhere - taking you life in your hands with the drivers and their inability than risking walking or stepping in something disgusting from the business end of a domestic.

    Driving in Italy.....The further south you travel, the less controlled and governed and safety is enforced. You want to drive through a residential area, past a school, etc at 60mph, feel free - the only thing stopping you is the pedestrians on the road avoiding animal waste and the idiots wanting to drive at 70mph.

    Traffic - 3 lanes in the UK mean 3 lanes of traffic. Italy, 3 lanes of traffic = (minimum) 6 lanes of traffic, Smart car lane (additional to the already 6 that are there) and the scooters filling the gaps.....Traffic in Italy viewed from above can only be described as a game of Tetris - if there is a space, fill it....Unlike Tetris, the bit don't vanish when there is a line, which is a shame as between the ours of 6-10am, there is total gridlock in most towns and cities - including the motorway systems! M25 is a dream in comparison to the GRA in Rome!

    Salaries in Italy are criminal. My wife works for a decent American pharmaceutical company and even by the current exchange rate being almost 1:1, she is on below minimum wage, and that is still considered here good! Plus the fact they get taxed for everything - I think the tax if it was paid properly for everything would mean that the Italian workforce would be paying the employee 17% of the salary they don't have because of the taxes they have already paid so therefore 117% tax!

    Road accidents and fatalities are played down here - but I have become so desensitized over the years, at work we talk about what we have seen in the road (in amongst the rubbish that is) what body part the police haven't picked up yet.....And that is just what we have seen during the gridlock rush hour where they still manage to kill each other!

    Parking is simply - if there's a space, put the car there....Doesn't matter if you are the 4th car parking on a bend, and over a pedestrian crossing - you've parked. Who cares if you have to put your nose out so far to see if there is someone belting along at 70mph+ down the road and they get hit and killed because you couldn't e bothered to look for another space for the car that was possibly another 20yards from you house - you've found a space and that's all that matters!

    Education in Italy looks good on the surface (like their clothes and fashion in general - which is also a joke) yes, the go to school on Saturday, but that is because they finish at no later than 2pm as it's too hot (que weather thing) -you are labelled a "Doctor" by getting a BA or Bsc degree....

    Weather is lovely, granted, but you wouldn't want to go in most of the costal areas beaches as they are so heavily polluted and dirty that it makes the streets look clean!

    Government is a farce. Too many comment about this already, so I won't go there! Berlusconi is all that needs to be said.

    Berlusconi - How anyone can stay in power when he makes comments like "Just think of it as a camping holiday" to the people in L'Aquila and when asked what he thought about the rising levels of rape cases, he responded "well, they are young pretty girls who dress nicely....What do they expect will happen them?"

    Not a football fan by any stretch, but really, Italy is at the same level of violence with football hooligans that Britain was at in the 1980's.

    Television.....Controlled by Berlusconi....No more needs to be said. Look at the way he runs his country and that is seen by the world....His television and media coverage is what the outside world sees dumbed down and using smaller words - but full of scantily clad bimbo's dancing around every 5 minutes in cages....And that is just during Who wants to be a millionaire between questions!

    OK, all of the above will make you question why do I stay here - why haven't I left and gone somewhere else - well, the simple answer is I am exploiting a position and an area of work that is funded by the EU, governed by Germany and I have 2yrs left and will be a better person and more tolerant of the rest of the world and their ideas, ill functioning, corruption, twisted, 3rd world attitudes and generally more adapted to fitting in with other cultures and ideas than the average Brit who will have been to Spain and made complaints to travel companies about Spain closing for the afternoon, Fish in the sea that terrified the children and why aren't chips on the menu?!

    As I said at the beginning - as a holiday destination, fantastic - great food, weather, visual impact etc....But as for it being better than Britain.....I have seen better Motorway service toilets run, managed, efficient and more importantly - cleaned and looked after, than most of what you see and experience in Italy.

    Sorry for the long post - Bit difficult to live here!

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  • 84. At 04:57am on 16 Jul 2009, lixxie wrote:

    We should accept the critism and drive the improvements; Germany far better at manufacturing, way ahead in Green energy and high speed trains; France cultural leader, has lots of Nuclear energy, does not depend on oil & Gas as much, even further ahead on high speed trains and much better at delivery strategic projects; Norway saved it's oil/gas revenues to build up wealth fund and not built up massive government debt.. So folks lots of good things out there we need to learn and do.

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  • 85. At 08:30am on 16 Jul 2009, Rogerjohn wrote:

    I love Italy, particularly the area around Mount Vesuvius - except the centre of Naples of course. I toured the city a few years back - the traffic is a nightmare and despite a rigourous search I was unable to discover a single undamaged car or clean street, unsullied by piles of stinking garbage! Of course, the whole of the Bay of Naples will eventually be buried in hundreds of feet of Lava. The combination of corrupt government and the actions of the Mafia have ensured that when this happens there will be maximum casualties, chaos and destruction. But, when you walk down the street in Sorrento, past the Orange and Olive trees to the shore, with Vesuvius towering over the Bay, who cares, for that moment!

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  • 86. At 09:34am on 16 Jul 2009, delminister wrote:

    one thing about italy i think rather interesting, they once voted a female porn star into government, whilst she was still very active in her own industry.
    what did she achieve ??
    and could she have gone on to lead the country ??
    no one knows but she did put some colour into the political arena.
    may be british politics needs that sort of addition.

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  • 87. At 09:53am on 16 Jul 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    We should accept the critism and drive the improvements; Germany far better at manufacturing, way ahead in Green energy and high speed trains; France cultural leader, has lots of Nuclear energy
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Ha, ask those living in Lower Saxony where radioactive waste is leaking into the water table from a retired salt mine used to store the waste how "good" they find that to be or indeed what they think of nuclear power.

    As for the UK, yes what with the UK govt telling its "citizens" what to do and the police killing off peaceful protests, it could indeed learn a few lessons from others. However, for the Italians to be lecturing Britain on democracy and on running a country is the blackest of humor going, maybe they've been watching too much Fawlty Towers.
    I knew a couple of Italians back in the early 90's and they told me, Italy is a nightmare, red tape, corruption, innefficiency etc etc. That was before the all-singing all-dancing Berlusconi made a mockery of the Italian govt.
    There never has been a "stable" democracy in Italy, having elections every 14-18 months.
    No, whilst its a beatiful country and it has given the world many things, this cheap article is not worth the paper used to print it on.

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  • 88. At 09:57am on 16 Jul 2009, marineAndrea wrote:

    Italy is by far superior to Britain under many other aspects that the moderate newspaper Il Giornale didn't mention...

    1. Cosa Nostra, Camorra, Sacra Corona Unita, 'Ndrangheta... guys, we are world leaders, wake up. No other organised crime in the world can beat us.
    2. Our PM's villa is used for private parties with naked escorts/starlettes/etc (and unfortunately ex PM of other european countries), BUT when it went through major restorations these were paid by the Italian Republic as they were for "increasing the safety of the italian PM and of his guests who are international political leaders". So basically, we italians have paid for it. Admit it, you jealous brits, you are not able of such a noble gesture towards your Holy Leader
    3. Uh, btw, talking about the Holy Leader... we have HIM, the Pope... who by the way is represented by an estimated 90% of italian MPs who just translate into law each and every word he says. Guys, we have the Pope, understood? you don't. We do. Don't ask for him, he won't move. Try with Gattuso and Pirlo instead, they are on sale.
    4. We italians -well actually them the Romans- have invented the Vespasiano, i.e. the loo. And very soon we'll come out with another incredible invention. We are leaders in innovation.
    5. Yeah, Gina Lollobrigida. You said that. And more recently, Sophia Loren. And more recently... uhmmm... well give me a minute to think about it.
    6. Fashion, we dominate the world: take Armani as an example. Oh sorry, that was the 80s... forget it.
    Well the list could go on, but it's so boring... furthermore, I'm leaving for my holidays, I'll have to take an intercontinental flight from Milan. Pity there are almost no intercontinental flights from Milan though... whatever, I'll fly through London, as usual.

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  • 89. At 10:27am on 16 Jul 2009, marineAndrea wrote:

    oh I forgot to say... we have Mara Carfagna as Minister of Equal Opportunities! What? you don't know the name? GOOGLE HER!!!

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  • 90. At 12:18pm on 16 Jul 2009, whyzehubbub wrote:

    There is a lot to be said about living in the UK, and if I had the choice I would spend 6 months here 6 months in Italy. On the question of some other top10's for Italy , I must add:

    1. Spaghetti con Vongole
    2. Scenic Motorways
    3. Il Giro
    4. Family Life
    5. Roman Aqueducts
    6. Opera
    7. Best coffe in the world
    8. Sophia Loren (and the many lookalikes out there)
    9. Hooting not seen as road rage, just a healthy outlet.
    10. Leonardo da Vinci

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  • 91. At 1:24pm on 16 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "The rubbish collection is appalling - Where my house is, we pay 70euros a quarter for rubbish collection, and the bins are emptied twice daily. 300yrds down the road, they are lucky to be emptied twice in a week.....But this does have it's advantages as the refuse will find it's way into the holes and administer a slight bit of relief to the wheel and tyre damage for a coupe of days in the week!"

    AHEM!! I pay £1,300 a year in council tax and bin is emptied once a FORTNIGHT here in the UK. Consider yourself lucky!

    "Work colleague got stopped for speeding - couldn't pay the on the spot fine - no money handed over with the driving license - so was taken by the police to a bar and was told to buy them breakfast and that would be the end of that! He was escorted in the police car to the nearest bar and paid for breakfast, then was left there as the officers had almost finished their shift and didn't have tome to take him back to his car!"

    So what's wrong with that? OK, not by the book, but what the heck......

    "The main thing that has to be addressed is that the media is controlled by Berlusconi - therefore, what the world sees is very much filtered down and screened so as not to make the place seem like it is a dreadful place to live."

    OK, well in that case the UK the BBC is controlled by whichever party is in government. It's currently very pro-Labour. And Berlusconi only controls certain TV channels and newspapers, not all of them. He is no different from Murdoch, who controls Sky, The Times, The Sunday Times, etc. Who are you trying to kid?

    "Salaries in Italy are criminal. My wife works for a decent American pharmaceutical company and even by the current exchange rate being almost 1:1, she is on below minimum wage, and that is still considered here good! Plus the fact they get taxed for everything - I think the tax if it was paid properly for everything would mean that the Italian workforce would be paying the employee 17% of the salary they don't have because of the taxes they have already paid so therefore 117% tax!"

    Horses for courses. I know for a fact that skilled professionals in Italy are paid as much, if not more, than in the UK. They also work fewer hours and get more holidays (including bank holidays). Taking three weeks off in August is the norm. In the UK you are lucky to get 25 days a year plus an insulting eight bank holidays a year - less than any other country, including the USA. And don't forget that in Italy the government pays out a state pension quite substantially higher than in the UK. As for taxes, we are taxed to death in the UK as it is and have little to show for it.

    One thing I do agree with you about is the driving in Italy, which is absolutely diabolical. And the parking issues as well. I've also noticed, like you, that graffiti is everywhere and public toilets are almost always never cleaned. This is the one big negative in Italy - public services.





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  • 92. At 1:28pm on 16 Jul 2009, penwith61 wrote:

    We moved from The Hague to Milan almost 2 years ago (work relocation). We're off to Lake Garda tomorrow for a long weekend, we were in Cannes last week (Admittedly this isn't Italy...) Aside from the problems in getting trousers long enough and a few similar sized whinges - from here there aren't too many things pulling me back to Blighty. Living abroad isn't what it used to be - with Sky TV you could be anywhere

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  • 93. At 1:49pm on 16 Jul 2009, redgm99 wrote:

    Italy better than Britain eh? Then why are there so many noisy, attention-seeking Italians in London?

    Give us a break and go home to where the grass is greener guys and leave us in peace.

    Arrivederci

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  • 94. At 2:28pm on 16 Jul 2009, whyzehubbub wrote:

    Fashling wrote bit earlier on:
    "Traffic - 3 lanes in the UK mean 3 lanes of traffic. Italy, 3 lanes of traffic = (minimum) 6 lanes of traffic, Smart car lane (additional to the already 6 that are there) and the scooters filling the gaps.....Traffic in Italy viewed from above can only be described as a game of Tetris - if there is a space, fill it...."

    Game of Tetris, indeed, wonderfully put !! That was certainly how it felt when I took a wrong turn from Capodiccino A/Port and ended up in Naples town, fresh off the plane.

    However, apart from the odd nut swerving in front of me on the motorway, in all fairness compared with a previous visit 6 years ago, I found a surprising new element of courtesy amoungst quite a few drivers this time. I think some draconian new drink-driving laws imposed a few years ago have made an impact. In the end, it was simply a case of playing Tetris v.defensively, ignore the hoots and smile, and I returned to AutoMaggiore without even a scratch. Amazing really considering 1:2 cars around the Bay area is dented.

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  • 95. At 2:38pm on 16 Jul 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    I'll confess from the outset thqt I am an ex-pat Englishman married to an Italian and have lived for 8 years in Rome.

    It's ridiculous first and foremost to make simplistic comparisons between countries. For a start outsiders usually only see the delightful tourist attractions when they visit, not the places "real people" live.

    Next Berlusconi is a powerful and clever politcal operator who controls much of Italy's media, both public and private, and thus can control his image and agenda more than any other Western leader.
    He is having some problems in general so it is an easy spin to throw some stones at supposedly civilised country like Britain in order to fluff the Italian pride.

    What is difficult for foreigners is to understand why he is so popular ... and he really is. The stories about him that we read in the UK press barely make the back page in Italy, if they are mentionned at all. Corruption down there is a way of life, from the small favours to ease the passage of some bureaucracy to the massive slush knocking around.
    Why is Berlusconi not hated .... my view is that whatever he may be up to, at least he lets others get on with their own graft. Prodi's problem was that he tried to clean up the little people without cleaning at the top. Italian MPs must be laughing themselves stupid over our little expenses scandal.

    Some inconsistancies about Italy - they have one of the highest rates of voter turnout, yet one of the least effective parliaments.

    State salaries are incredibly low - many people work for 1200 euros a month - but the jobs are totally protected and have great benefits, so they give security. But then promotion is by length of service or "recommendation" (nepotism), never by merit, so it leads to massive inefficiency. There is no incentive to perform well.


    However all that said I would say Italy is by far the more pleasant place to live. The town and villages are vibrant and lively. The food is of course excellent. There is little delinquency or alcohol abuse.

    And if you have children you can take them anywhere at any time and everyone will be wonderfully helpful.

    Italians by and large seem much happier in general.
    I think they see the chaos ans corruption and problems around them and then think "Va bene. Andiamo mangiare" and suddenly everything is better.

    However lest you think living here is some sort of paradise, there is mire of forms and bureaucracy that is complicated and illogical beyond belief.

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  • 96. At 3:03pm on 16 Jul 2009, whyzehubbub wrote:

    Forgetting about politics, economics, football, etc
    These are my perennial top 10 winners for the UK:

    1. English language - what other language can claim such scope for wordplay ?
    2. Green, green.. - the tree variety in Surrey/ W Sussex is not something most London visitors get to see.
    3. Humour - how many other countries have a Mr Bean or Benny Hill that can make even a bar full of Germans laugh ? and lets not forget Monty Python.
    4. The Monarchy - maintaining strong traditions, independent of politics, alongside contrasting modernity, nearest match perhaps being Japan.
    5. Sporting Tradition - long list of sports originating from the UK. Wimbledon, The Open, Grand Prix, Snooker, Rugby etc etc etc
    6. Food - yes real British food. Ever tried a typical carvery/ roast beef in a country pub, or fish n chips n mushy peas after a day's climbing in Wales ?
    7. Pub Culture - country pubs in particular, away from London.
    8. Fair Play and Tolerance - long history of integrating different cultures.
    9. Inventive spirit. A lot of industrial firsts emanated from the UK, and therefore not so surprising that things start to decline here first.
    10. Jaguar E-type - the coolest car of them all.




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  • 97. At 3:17pm on 16 Jul 2009, wildWill101 wrote:

    Very simple....

    At the Brussels summit, at the end of Italy's EU presidency, in December 2003 Burlusconi said: "Let's talk about football and women." (Turning to four-times-married German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.) "Gerhard, why don't you start?"

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  • 98. At 3:27pm on 16 Jul 2009, theswell wrote:

    Italy is a beautiful county and has a lot going for it but then so does England. The comparisons made in the newspaper article are silly but probably written tongue in cheek. I have relatives living in Italy and agree with the comments regarding beaurocracy plus Italian wages are much lower than the UK, most people have to have two jobs. However it is a wonderful place for a holiday, great beaches, good food and wonderful weather.

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  • 99. At 3:30pm on 16 Jul 2009, ironsquaddie wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 100. At 3:34pm on 16 Jul 2009, fcolacino wrote:

    I apologise you all for having such a press and such a politicians.

    Francesco (an italian PhD who can only work outside Italy).

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  • 101. At 3:49pm on 16 Jul 2009, Woolfbane wrote:

    Grappa.
    The Italian Futurists.
    Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini
    Salame.
    Fellini.
    Pannetone.
    Umberto Eco.
    Riccotta, mozzarella, parmesan, dolcelatte.
    Isabella Rosellini.
    Marco Polo.
    Rossini.
    La Dolce Vita.
    Florence, Venice, Rome.
    Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci.

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  • 102. At 3:54pm on 16 Jul 2009, micomax wrote:

    Q'if the UK is such a lousy country why do we have many trying to get in'

    A. Because the English are so lazy! There are jobs to be had but the natives are too work shy.
    Most of the immigrants we have are from third world countries.

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  • 103. At 4:00pm on 16 Jul 2009, micomax wrote:

    If there is anything in particular that makes Italy a better country than the Uk it is their treatment of children.
    I think we have to acknowledge that we the British and the English in particular do not like children.
    How many times have we heard the comment from parents that they can't wait for their children to grow up (16 years old) and leave the family home.
    What other country in the world sends such a large propotion of its children to boarding school?
    Where in Europe are the children as badly behaved as they are here?
    Why does this country produce so many paedophiles?

    I think English children when they are badly behaved are simply demonstrating the fact that they are not cherished.

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  • 104. At 4:14pm on 16 Jul 2009, micomax wrote:

    Accepting the fact that there does exist corruption in Italy, we, the English must avoid and please stop being guilty of hypocrisy..
    After all, have we not just had the MP's expense debacle exposed, and the banking community's corporate greed and theft.
    It seems that corruption is totally ingrained in the system, so much so, that it is not even considered to be corruption, but simply perks of the class system.
    Going back to hypocrisy, whenever we, the English critise any other country for whatever reason, we are inevitably guilty of the same defects.
    We concentrate and place too much stress on the abilities of products of public schools and in doing so consign and define the rest of the population to second ratedness.
    Put simply, we are no longer valid as a leading country. We are in post-imperial terminal decline.

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  • 105. At 4:38pm on 16 Jul 2009, Mystiroakey wrote:

    what do any of the points mean

    italian banks didnt need bailing out- what banks exactly do they have lol, banks that have never traded dont need bailing out- jeasus..

    politics- they worship a guy because he has relations with girls 50 years younger than him-- ok then- fair play i suppose but..

    britain is a net contributer to europe- italy are not..


    fashion erm- pretty similar to be honest - both top of the pile

    crime- well the italian police are involed with more crime than britains criminals- and i am not even mentioning there football teams and a certain f1 team --

    tourism- well- britain has the most tourists in the planet.. so yes it is no contest..

    and if people that have never been out of our cities thing britain is horrid- you need to drive into our amazing countryside and check out britain..

    football-

    erm our league perhaps-lol

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  • 106. At 5:30pm on 16 Jul 2009, noitmem80 wrote:

    micomax wrote:
    Q'if the UK is such a lousy country why do we have many trying to get in'

    A. Because the English are so lazy! There are jobs to be had but the natives are too work shy.
    Most of the immigrants we have are from third world countries.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    How blind/biased/bigoted are you?
    We have had to endure the labour party manipulate a system that encourages dependancy.
    It has,over time introduced bills that have ment that some people have more to gain by becoming a victim of this or that.
    yes there are "native" slackers but are you telling me that all of these immigrants aren't here for something other than work.If they can claim asylum,they are allowed instant access to the entire range of benefits,and even if they dont achieve asylum status they still have free nhs treatment.
    You appear to have chosen not to mention the currant unemployment figures of almost 3 million
    Tell me,are the people amongst these figures all lazy white english men?
    You are guilty of peddling the very same propaganda that the govt has been pumping out since it came to power,in order to justify its open door immigration policy.
    Only yesterday the home secretary,said that he didnt lose sleep over the huge population rise that is going to stretch every aspect of life in this country.He couldn't care less.Labour knows fullwell that even if it loses this election,by the time of the next one,all of the current immigrants will be entitled to vote.And labour is very aware that at least 2/3 of recent immigrants will vote for them because of its stance on unlimited immigration and its encouragment of minorities to claim racial discrimination at every opportunity.
    It is abusing and manipulating democracy.
    Labour has effectively suppressed debate and objection through what we call political correctness
    Labour hates every thread of what was our way of life and identity,
    In effect it has decided to socially engineer the demographics of this nation.and it has made it very clear who its intended target is.
    A female labour minister said last year when it was announced that Leicester was about to become the first plural city in Europe that"we should celebrate the success of the govt's diversity bill"
    It depends on what you call a success.If making the native white population a minority is your aim,then the result is an outstanding achievement.
    If i am to be dismissed as a racist,then i care not.
    Anyone that doesnt toe the PC line is demonised as a racist anyway
    at least i think for myself.
    I haven't bought into the lies and disinfomation that despite evidence to the contrary, is presented as fact.

    Maybe,micomax,you should try to think for yourself,or do you also have something to gain from the policy of this govt?

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  • 107. At 5:56pm on 16 Jul 2009, noitmem80 wrote:

    If there is anything in particular that makes Italy a better country than the Uk it is their treatment of children.
    I think we have to acknowledge that we the British and the English in particular do not like children.
    How many times have we heard the comment from parents that they can't wait for their children to grow up (16 years old) and leave the family home.
    What other country in the world sends such a large propotion of its children to boarding school?
    Where in Europe are the children as badly behaved as they are here?
    Why does this country produce so many paedophiles?

    I think English children when they are badly behaved are simply demonstrating the fact that they are not cherished.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    you manage to display your ignorance on as many subjects as you possibley can.
    The quantity of people that send their children to boarding school is tiny.indeed it is far less than many other european states.
    And how does the fact that SOME parents look forward to their children starting on their own way in life suggest that they don't like them.
    Many parents would have their children at home forever.How is that healthy for the developement of a young adult?.
    Yes we do have a problem with some badly behaved children.Could the reason for their attitude have anything to do with govt interferance that makes every child blameless of any wrong doing or sense of responsiblity?
    as for paedophiles,Have you actually heard any news lately.it would seem that paedos are a problem in many parts of the world,and the most recent paedo case in this country involved a man who was not of British/English decent.
    If i must make comparisons.I have never saw children in this country walking the streets in bare feet.
    Have a look around Naples see if you can say the same.

    You present a very narrow view,
    if you feel you must bad mouth this country and its people,do some research first.
    try to make it hard to refute your lazy claims

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  • 108. At 6:46pm on 16 Jul 2009, Idrefjell63 wrote:

    Well put Fashling, your comments were spot on. I had to have a chuckle as your words fully reflected my own opinions.

    I grew up in Italy and returned as an adult five years ago. I happen to love many things about the country and the people, but it would be wrong to ignore the many faults to be found in the country.

    In my opinion, one of the most serious issues which so far does not seem to have been touched on, is that unfortunately the average Italian has a very poor sense of civic duty which leads to a lack of respect for their fellow citizens and the environment, particularly outside the family unit. In Italy this is called 'menefregismo' and it is rife in society.

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  • 109. At 10:35pm on 16 Jul 2009, biondinamora wrote:

    Dear rshsbth

    There are daily flights from Rome, Milan and any of the major cities to go back to England, good riddance you won't be missed.

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  • 110. At 11:16pm on 16 Jul 2009, noitmem80 wrote:

    @micomax 102,103,104
    you place a heavy emphasis on your identity as in "We the english"
    And some of your wording is slightly odd.
    I suspect your not english at all,but i would guess you hide behind your assumed identity to give your accusations some perverse kind of credibility,and maybe to deflect any criticism of racism against the english(not that that would receive any kind of support in this distorted state).
    On the remote possibility that you are English,you are most definatley suffering some kind of self-loathing.The govt would be pleased, 40yrs of thinly veiled marxism has shown fruit,generations of identityless self hating automatrons

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  • 111. At 00:36am on 17 Jul 2009, shredaholic wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 112. At 00:41am on 17 Jul 2009, DrHyde wrote:

    "'Made in Italy' world's leading label"? Possibly. Amongst chav filth who wouldn't know any better.

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  • 113. At 05:59am on 17 Jul 2009, namrebel wrote:

    My Fiat Multipla

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  • 114. At 10:45am on 17 Jul 2009, emmajamieson wrote:

    I have returned to the UK after 4 years in Italy and I was extremely happy to leave. The above mentioned items are a great reason to visit Italy on a holiday and its a great place to spend vacation time. No one moves to a country and stays there because of Vespa's and Gina Lollobrigida.
    Of my peers, I'd say a close circle of about 10 good Italian friends, all in their mid-30s, Masters level educated and many bi or tri-lingual, 8 were working without contracts and had been for the last 8 years, two of these working for RAI television. None of them want to live in Italy,. or see a future there for themselves or their families. Several suffer depression. A work contract is a rare thing and many strive for decades to see a regular one. Corruption in the workplace is rampant, massive and so blatant it sickens - great news if your boss is a family friend or relative, but forget the merit system we have in the UK.
    I won't even go into the mafia which has all but left the South in extrmem poverty and the latest tourism investments in Italy have been a total shambles, from the Euro 4 million website that never got off the ground to the single lane motorway from Salerno to Reggio Calabria that was built on sandy foundations and diverts every ten miles or so inland, through xdifficult steep mountain paths because when it was built, government members wanted it to pass right by their holiday homes. Public transport is a shambles that makes Britain look like a paradise and would be better served by camels and run by monkeys. And authority in the G8? What authority? The show was run by Obama, the decision to host in Aquila disrupted repair works in the city and angered residents, and Berlusconi's last two hostings of the G* were marked by bribery scandal and the police violence in Genova. This time it's just the sad fact that Berlusconi's biggest impact on the world stage is his penchant for ignorant remarks and fondness for bimbos.
    As for Made in Italy, thanks to the careful, intelligent research of journalists Roberto Saviano and RAI regular Riccardo Iacona, we now know that the majority of Italian designers use Chinese illegal immigrants in Naples, packed into rooms with no sunlight where they work 17 hours a day with no protection as they offer the lowest cost of manufacturing and have excellent sewing skills. No Italian has been near your Armani jacket.

    As fort the food, who can honestly say they've eaten FANTASTICALLY in a city trattoria. Most cheap eateries are pretty crap, the best food is still the home-cooked stuff you get from mamma, and sadly tourists tend to miss out on the best (unless you have pots of money, in which case, anywhere is enjoyable to visit!).

    Italy has great weather and beautiful countryside. It's local produce is of exceptionally high standard. I dream of a day when the Italians get their act together and really invest in their people, in their kids, in their future and in their country because it can offer so much and is losing its next generation to America, or to depression and apathy. I have not missed it once since I returned to the UK.


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  • 115. At 10:57am on 17 Jul 2009, djmikeyc wrote:

    ""The Italians are just upset that they don't have an empire that covers a large proportion of the known world any more."

    LOL! Pot calling kettle black again, although it's true that the English language has been spectacularly successful in the way it has spread around the world. "

    Yes! This is called irony.

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  • 116. At 11:15am on 17 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    " 'Made in Italy' world's leading label'? Possibly. Amongst chav filth who wouldn't know any better."

    Really? I thought Burberry was favoured by chavs!

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  • 117. At 11:19am on 17 Jul 2009, Mary_Long wrote:

    Italy has little to be proud too.. his prime minister just keeps on power because of the ignorance and racism that pervade italian society - nothing to be proud of the fact that his authority has risen - it just means that Italians are even more to blame than I thought. I am just ashamed to be Italian myself..

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  • 118. At 11:20am on 17 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "If there is anything in particular that makes Italy a better country than the Uk it is their treatment of children.
    I think we have to acknowledge that we the British and the English in particular do not like children.
    How many times have we heard the comment from parents that they can't wait for their children to grow up (16 years old) and leave the family home.
    What other country in the world sends such a large propotion of its children to boarding school?
    Where in Europe are the children as badly behaved as they are here?
    Why does this country produce so many paedophiles?

    I think English children when they are badly behaved are simply demonstrating the fact that they are not cherished."


    Erm, nope. British children are badly behaved because they have nothing to fear any more. All this Marxist nonsense from 'New Labour' and the EU has taklen away the right of teachers and parents to use corporal punishment. Italian children are no better behaved than British ones, just less prone to drinking maybe, because it's not in the culture. And they are the noisiest brats anywhere in Europe!

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  • 119. At 11:38am on 17 Jul 2009, thornton_reed wrote:

    #110

    We could do with some of these 'automatrons' in the NHS. That'll sort the superbug problem out in a jiffy.

    And '40yrs of thinly veiled marxism'...What the flip!?!

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  • 120. At 11:41am on 17 Jul 2009, marklv wrote:

    "State salaries are incredibly low - many people work for 1200 euros a month - but the jobs are totally protected and have great benefits, so they give security. But then promotion is by length of service or "recommendation" (nepotism), never by merit, so it leads to massive inefficiency. There is no incentive to perform well.


    However all that said I would say Italy is by far the more pleasant place to live. The town and villages are vibrant and lively. The food is of course excellent. There is little delinquency or alcohol abuse.

    And if you have children you can take them anywhere at any time and everyone will be wonderfully helpful.

    Italians by and large seem much happier in general.
    I think they see the chaos ans corruption and problems around them and then think "Va bene. Andiamo mangiare" and suddenly everything is better."

    You've probably hit the nail on the head here. However, I woudn't say 1200 Euros a month after tax is 'incredibly low' - most admin grade civil servants in the UK earn roughly the same, plus in Italy you get a thirteenth month of salary at the end of the year - and I believe civil servants of standard grade get a fourteenth month as well. Pay IS relatively low, but it's a job for life and carries a pension of 80% final salary, teacher levels of annual holiday and an 8 till 3 working day. Not a bad life! As for the UK meritocracy culture, this is just an illusion, often manipulated by managers who like to build themselves a cosy little empire full of 'yes people'. It sounds good in theory but doesn't work in practice because of office politics. You can't change human nature.

    I think the key cultural difference is that in the UK there is an obsession with making money and materialism in general, while in Italy people work to make ends meet, to to try to get rich.




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  • 121. At 2:08pm on 17 Jul 2009, thornton_reed wrote:

    #118

    Erm, nope. Children in general are badly behaved for a multitude of reasons and a lot British children have plenty to fear thank you very much.

    Anyway, who needs respect, love and understanding when you've got good old fashioned fear on your side...

    Oh and have you been around Europe taking notes on the noise pollution emitted by children (not brats, you're the one who's sounding brat like) because if you have you must be the lousiest holiday companion.

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  • 122. At 2:20pm on 17 Jul 2009, BoniniBR wrote:

    I am Brazilian live in the UK and Love around here,more than Italy. I am just a little bit upset because of this news that havent been published by the BBC in the UK yet, but beyond this I still think UK is amazing and unique!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8155082.stm

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  • 123. At 4:17pm on 17 Jul 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    #96:

    How on earth can you possibly say we Brits have a better sense of humour than the Italians? They elected Berlusconi as their president!

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  • 124. At 5:45pm on 17 Jul 2009, Secratariat wrote:

    @ DisgustedOfMitcham2

    Yes, but we elected Tony Blair, 3 times !

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  • 125. At 00:44am on 18 Jul 2009, outofthegarden wrote:

    I love Italy and obviously Mark's post is very tongue-in-cheek, however a friend of mine just visited Sicily for 10 days and was appalled at the poverty. People are truly living in third wold conditions in many areas. She stayed with distant relatives, they had no running water and no trash collection. Rubbish was piled up in the streets, just like in Naples but she hadn't heard that the same problems exist in Sicily, but worse. Health care was abysmal. There is tremendous poverty, it is still normal for significant numbers of children to leave school and start to work at the age of 8. If you think this is an exaggeration do your research. Drop-out rates and unemployment are very high in the south.
    At least if you are poor in Britain you will have running water, trash collection, working sewers and a decent health service. Of course, you have to live with horrible weather and pretty bad food in comparison to Sicily. And the men are also much more sexy down there too!

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  • 126. At 09:11am on 18 Jul 2009, malta_cricket wrote:

    Oh dear..still calling it Spag Bol.

    The next article will probably be about the lack of language skills by Britains youngsters.

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  • 127. At 1:11pm on 18 Jul 2009, Mary_Long wrote:

    "If there is anything in particular that makes Italy a better country than the Uk it is their treatment of children"

    The only problem is that we are treated so well that more than half of Italians stay with "mami" and "papi" until they are over 30.. can you imagine marrying an Italian guy that has always been living with his parents and the mum would have always washed, cleaned and cooked for him? there are plenty of "mummy's grown up boys" around thanks to this better treatment of children! the so called "mammoni" that prefer to stay with their parents for a "better life" - what they don't spend in rent or mortgage, they can use for a bigger car, latest mobile phone, branded clothes, and so on! Not unusual neither is the fact that divorced men go back to live with their parents!

    p.s. women tend less to stay with their parents because of "cultural" reasons. If a man can do whatever he wants at home having the maximum freedom, bringing for example girlfriends to sleep over, that will not be the case for a women..

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  • 128. At 2:28pm on 18 Jul 2009, davidwhite44 wrote:

    So what if we are second to Italy on the tourism front? Since many people rate Italy as the most beautiful country, I would say we're just behind in second or third place.

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  • 129. At 4:02pm on 18 Jul 2009, woody5545 wrote:

    I have lived in Italy for over a year, in both the north and south. If you have not experienced Italian life, rest assured that its society is zoo-like. The peninsula in general is a great place to keep the Italians. Don't be fooled by the good-looking shell.

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  • 130. At 6:21pm on 18 Jul 2009, WiseGorilla wrote:

    Oh come on you nay sayers. How can anybody fail to love a nation as ineffectual as the Italians. Bless em. And their food is fantastic. And the skiing. And the lakes. And other stuff too. Let the little people huff and puff but I for one think Italy is fantastic. And another thing- they have a sneaking admiration for us Brits. Heck, some of them openly like us.

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  • 131. At 7:21pm on 18 Jul 2009, rogertheterrible wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 132. At 10:22pm on 18 Jul 2009, rocknedkelly wrote:

    Delminster,
    "England" did bow and scrape and fratinise with the romans for the best part of four hundred years. If you are looking for a nation that did stand up against them, look west, Ireland did not succumb or north the Scots wouldn't have much of it either, even though they are very alike as nations. The comparison between BRITAIN and Italy is difficult principally because England is so far up its own rear end it cannot see things in perspective. Italian attitude is incredibly relaxed about all sorts of things, England could learn a lot from their behaviour.

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  • 133. At 02:22am on 19 Jul 2009, tarquin wrote:

    22 Alfred the OK

    Except that it wasn't was it? The actual quote is 'To be born English is to have won the lottery of life'. I can only assume Fry just couldn't utter the word 'England' - or else, he isn't as smart as he thinks!

    When is the BBC going to stop trying to wipe out my country. We are a nation, not a collection of Euro-regions.

    -----------

    Actually there's good reason to do that - prior to the twentieth century 'Britain' was referred to as 'England' - so it now makes sense to translate the old use of 'England'

    Ever heard of the 'Cambridge History of the English Empire'? It's because that's what it was always called in the 19th century, check out any primary document

    So in fact when any of us say 'British Empire' we're guilty of the same act as Fry

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  • 134. At 06:57am on 19 Jul 2009, LarkRig wrote:

    We Brits tend to judge Italy from the perspective of tourists, on holiday things are always better anyway and as a place to holiday Italy is lovely. As a place to live though, Italy is a completely different kettle of fish. I moved there with family on an ex-pat assignment in 2002. You very quickly realise the problem with Italy is space. It has the same land area and population as the UK but is 75% mountainous, so there is real pressure on space. Consequently, Italian's cars are small, their houses are apartments and there's never anywhere to park. There's plenty more unexpected consequences too, for example they love dogs but have no gardens, so with no open spaces, dogs exercise in the street and the Italian's are way too proud to scoop. Yuk.

    After three months you get a bit bored of pizza and pasta, so take a look around. Where we lived there was nothing but Italian restaurants, no Indian, no Chinese no ......

    One thing Italy does have in abundance though is salesmen (and women!) Every Italian is convinced to their core that everything Italian is best .... but actually, it's all a bit crap - unless you're on holiday that is!

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  • 135. At 08:31am on 19 Jul 2009, Guidegx wrote:

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  • 136. At 08:33am on 19 Jul 2009, Guidegx wrote:

    The Romans ruled England for 400 years and the THE eNGLISH still speak atrocious Italian--really once a barbarian always a barbarian---LOL

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  • 137. At 10:41am on 19 Jul 2009, klaxon5 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 138. At 11:09am on 19 Jul 2009, klaxon5 wrote:

    Hi,
    It seems that there a few people who confuse the descriptions, ENGLAND, English, and Great Britain, so, before any more, let me say I am from Northern Ireland.
    Italy, besting Great Britian at... anything?, perhaps if millions of our greatest were not killed protecting us in the both world wars this would not even be a subject for discussion/mirth.
    As far as I can remember the only thing the Italians gained fairly was a Chess Team world title many years ago.
    Football, give me a rugby referee (afraid of no one) and see how far you would get?
    Formula one, a cheating German had to drive your cars and you still cheated continually (possibly a national pastime)
    Shoes, had many pairs, wore some out in a month? not for real people, for show only, like most else from same place.
    Banks, quite true, none have been bailed out, perhaps we should take a closer look at precisely just how much money in those banks is legitimit...... considering the one thing that Italy is an undisputed world champion at... yes.. corruption, and it's ten's of billions not millions. Not one Lire, of the 28 billion, was received by the victims of the Naples earthquake 1982, and now another scam of the same nature has caused a near riot just recently...!!!
    25% of the country's GDP is "unofficial" so no tax is paid and it's not recorded officially, meaning they qualify as a 'net' receiver of E.E.C. funds to which we donate, being a net contributer.
    Then tens of millions are skimmed off and scammed.
    Food, good lord!, I can't stand and more tasteles variations of pasta or pizza??
    Sir Winston Churchill summed it all up in one sentance, after being disturbed in a critical war meeting to be advised that "The Italians have just sided with the Germans" he replied," I think thst's only fair because we had them last time"!

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  • 139. At 3:02pm on 19 Jul 2009, marineJohn-H wrote:

    Italy, changed sides so many times in every war, they should have roundabouts for boots.
    Anyway who cares what they think, I certainly don`t. Been there once and found the people ignorant.

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  • 140. At 4:15pm on 19 Jul 2009, klaxon5 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 141. At 4:49pm on 19 Jul 2009, LivinginSA wrote:

    Top 4's for Italia:
    Great Wine (Brunnello is to die for).
    Great Food (although Parma ham was founded in Wales over 100 yrs before Italy).
    Great Weather.
    Friendly people (Providing you pay them not to burn your house down or shoot you in the knee caps).

    Top 4's for Britannia.
    Beer/Ale/Whisky (World no. 1)
    Breakfast (World no. 1 - English or Scottish - no where in the world does it better).
    UK has more Academics per sqaure mile than Italy (not saying that Italians are thick, but attention is paying to enjoying life).
    British live in the 21st century, Italians still live in 20th.

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  • 142. At 5:31pm on 19 Jul 2009, klaxon5 wrote:

    Please, some of you out there go out and buy, beg, steal or borrow some books about Italy, I have no financial interest or any other type of interest in this advice, other than, it's very interesting reading and just brings some more credibility and accuracy to most of the criticism here.
    The "Guiness Book of Answers" gives a lot of statistical details about almost all of the recognised countries of the world and makes light reading, but can give a very balanced perspective because of the easily made comparisons. The Econimist's "Pocket Book of Statistics" and "The Investor's Chronical pocket book" or diary of the same ilk.
    Currently reading "McMafia" and other fact books about it.
    I picked the last two up at airports en route to somewhere, and when digested are quite an education.
    My ex was fluent in Italian, and we lived there for a short time, Now I am one of 157 people being scammed out of 11 million Euro's due to a corrupt town hall minion who falsified a building site licence and the Supreme court in Rome ruled the builder was at fault!!!!

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  • 143. At 6:13pm on 19 Jul 2009, robertcantarero wrote:

    I am a 22-year old man with an Italian father and an English mother. I currently reside in England but I grew up in Italy.
    Italy has so many wonderful things: culture, history, food, weather, the Italian "more relaxed" way of life. But England is better to live in: everything is more organised, more efficient, cleaner, less corrupt; you can actually build a career for yourself without having to rely on external contacts for example who you know etc......
    Having grown up there I know that a lot of Italians who are my age want to leave Italy given the fact that the country is in a terrible mess compared to countries like the UK or Spain. Plus the Head of State Berlusconi is a complete buffoon who is President only because of the ignorance and stupidity of so many Italians who fall under his spell.
    Unemployment is very high in Italy and even people with master degrees and PhDs struggle to get a job.
    I love going back there for a holiday but I can assure you that Britain is a better place to live in.
    As for the football, England have only themselves to blame if England is managed by a foreigner. There are currently no outstandingly gifted English managers and certainly no English or even British managers (except Ferguson)who can compare with Capello's career.
    Having said that, I am happy to be able to have the best of both worlds.
    Forza Italia and c'mon England!!!

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  • 144. At 7:17pm on 19 Jul 2009, robertcantarero wrote:

    Can I please defend Italian Television? Terrestrial channels are generally nine (not counting the local channels).
    These are the three RAI channels, three MEDIASET channels, LA7, MTV and RETE 8.
    Yes it is true that Italian TV is full of shows ith half-naked girls dancing, reality shows and extremely bious news programmes like Emilio fede's TG4.
    However, it has also loads of good stuff: all Italy games -regardless of them being home or away, friendlies, etc. are shown live; loads of football programmes; the news programmes are all very good (apart from Studio Aperto on Mediaset); there are programmes with loads of documentaries and interesting news reports; there is always at least one film on; programmes are normally live and also interact more with the audience; programmes are generally more extravagant and possibly more entertaining than the British versions (Ready Steady Cook goes on for 2 hours and they dedicate a whole section to the origin and particular qualities of foods).
    British Television is perhaps more objective but I don't want anybody to describe it as great. yes there is the occasional drama/documentary or history programme on but it is also full of soaps, repeats, ridiculous programmes like "The Man who only Ate Cheese" and it does not seem to cater for all audiences.
    Also is a quiz programme with half-naked girls shown at 7pm any worse than a soap with people talking in slang, constantly getting pregnant/getting drunk/arguing and/or getting murdered??

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  • 145. At 8:22pm on 19 Jul 2009, Lilacpig wrote:

    Both countries have their good & bad points. I don't think it's fair to say one is better than the other.

    As for the people who wrote 'why do more immigrants come to England', I think they'll find they are wrong. Italy has about 3 or 4 times the number we do!

    Anyway, my top ten things I like about Italy are:

    1) My husband
    2) Gargnano (Lago di Garda)
    3) Chinotto
    4) Vino (Pinot Grigio, Soave & Valpolicella)
    5) Scamorza, Dolcelatte, Gorgonzola
    6) Il Dolomiti
    7) Olive groves & limonaia (sp?)
    8) The food!
    9) Public transport (cheap & reliable)
    10) Cleanliness of the streets (well in Northern Italy anyway)

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  • 146. At 8:58pm on 19 Jul 2009, blogwarts wrote:

    Number 11......all our military equipment has forward gears...for not running away. :o)

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  • 147. At 10:20pm on 19 Jul 2009, alext wrote:

    Some ask, "how do I emigrate... Are houses affordable in Italy?". Well, yes, they are, and they're not in the UK. Why is that? It's because the UK has been a lot more successful than Italy over the last 20 years.

    The Italian economy has more significant long term problems than the UK. Their labour costs have risen 30% against Germany's since the Euro was introduced and they can't compete in their traditional areas with the Chinese.

    That said, Italians have a sense of humour and can take a joke, unlike most of their neighbours. It's still a great country to visit.

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  • 148. At 10:38pm on 19 Jul 2009, lovelondon1 wrote:

    I think the UK is better, as long as there are many Italians in your area.

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  • 149. At 11:02pm on 19 Jul 2009, noitmem80 wrote:

    @133
    i have to disagree with your theories on the use of the term British as opposed to English as used by S.Fry.It is irrelevant as to how this nation was refered to .The fact is that Rhodes used the term English,not British as Mr Fry seems to think.Rhodes was born in England,so called himself English.It is a quotation.If Cecil Rhodes had said that he stuck bananas up his nose would you then say that what he actually meant was that he stuck elephants up there instead?......A quote is a quote .
    Besides the use of the term British came to replace the term English after the act of union with Scotland

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  • 150. At 07:09am on 20 Jul 2009, RobMardle wrote:

    I wouldn't say one country is better than the other. I'm English but live in Brescia. In my experience many Italians think England is better than Italy (although most of these opinions are based on experiences in London not other areas of England). The top 5 things I like most about Italy are;

    1. Chiara (my girlfriend)
    2. The food (except gorgonzola)
    3. Weather
    4. Hospitality
    5. Food,weather,hospitality.

    Top 5 things I miss about England are;
    1. Pork pies
    2. Sausage rolls
    3. Camden Town

    Could only think of 3.

    I love living in Italy and have no plans to move back to England but it doesn't mean I prefer one more than the other. What I will say is that Silvio B is a great embarrassment to the Italian people.

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  • 151. At 08:02am on 20 Jul 2009, richard wrote:

    RE: List of top 10, Spag bol originated in the USA by immigrant Italians!

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  • 152. At 08:45am on 20 Jul 2009, italyo wrote:

    Oh my... so many comments... I couldn't possibly read them all now, though some of them seemed quite interesting to me.
    Being an Italian, I have to say that those who agree with what the Italian news paper say are pretty wrong... Italy has got a great cultural heritage and great food, but that's it in my opinion, Britain is far way better governed. Whatever scandal happening in the UK is just a normal thing here in "Bella Italia".
    Culture is just a heritage, we barely have its leftovers now; Italy has just become the Land of Toys where our Pinocchio politicians can have all the fun they want cause, differently from the fiction, they are sure they will not turn into donkeys cause this is a part played by those who vote for them.

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  • 153. At 10:33am on 20 Jul 2009, whyzehubbub wrote:

    Dear #123 (my ref #96)

    Point taken, but How on earth did you miss my first sentence ?
    I said Politics etc aside....

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  • 154. At 4:15pm on 20 Jul 2009, cesareduce wrote:

    Well done on both sides.. after years of hard work towards a United Europe and feeling citizenz of the World, you all have managed to take it millions of steps back.
    This reflects the level of education on both sides and the wrong attitude we are passing to our children.
    For the English and I repeat the English only, anywhere outside England (including Wales, Scotland and Ireland)is bad and never up to standard. If this is true can the English exaplain why so many hundreds of thousands are leaving the UK every year to live abroad, especially in Italy?
    Of course Italy is as corrupted as every other Country in the World, of course except for England... so should we start and check all the English people living in Italy on what they are doing here, where or even if they declare their earnings or properties.
    I can list thousands of English people loving and ruling the dodgy system and yet pretending to have a colonizing mentality when the Empire actually finished years ago.
    Why do you need our best doctors, researchers and professional people from Italy to work in the UK?
    Why do you stress about the English language and rarely find anyone in England able to spell or speaking a proper English?
    England and Italy are main contributors to the European Community and draw quite a lot of money for projects and other things that we could have only dreamt before. Young people enjoy a free Europe without borders except for England and they can live and work and co-operate to generate progress and living together in peace.
    I've lived and worked in both Countries and I've tried to bring my children up with total respect for any Culture.
    One word of advice...in case you haven't understood that yet...what you read on papers is far from the reality and the truth about everything.
    Please keep the Queen and her family's scandals, keep breathing a drunken society and brain wash young people...the truth is that YOU (Governaments of every Country or better Masons controllers) have really managed to create the type of society you wanted in the first place, making sure you distract people with other issues while you take care of your own business.
    If we have to deal as the Romans did then we should conquer and civilise you all over again.

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  • 155. At 5:27pm on 20 Jul 2009, exasperated_durham wrote:

    I haven't even read this article, I don't want to. I find the whole question absurd. Of course Italy isn't better than England...The English had an empire that spanned a substantial part of the globe, we have never elected a right wing regime and we don't indulge in casual misogny on mopeds or xenopbia in Piazza's like the Italians. Churchill would be appalled that such a question was being asked on his BBC

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  • 156. At 9:20pm on 20 Jul 2009, waddy1968 wrote:

    Actually....I found Venice quite smelly.

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  • 157. At 04:45am on 21 Jul 2009, kewlscot wrote:

    All these comments about ENGLAND, there I thought this article was called 'Is Italy better than Britain?' silly me!!! well theres one of the MOST improtant things better about Italy for us Scots, NI and Welsh, for example in Italy, Italy = Italy and in Britain, Britain = England, VIVA ITALIA is what i say!!!

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  • 158. At 06:34am on 21 Jul 2009, Violatrix wrote:

    Wow! As an Italian whos deeply in love with Great Britain and deeply in love with an English man, Im glad I never met anyone who told me, looking at me straight in the eyes, what Ive been reading in some of the comments to this post. Some of them are shocking and racist (forgive me, but thats what I think). But I think you all fell into the trap of a universal boyish game Im not going to name not to be immediately banned (just know it regards sizes :-D).

    I mean, Mark, the author, maybe didnt realize that the original Italian article came from a newspaper thats far from being considered moderated, as Ive seen someone calling Il Giornale here. This newspaper is probably the worst daily paper in Italy: degraded, Berlusconi-friendly, almost fascist, quarrelsome and very close to what in the UK could be called a tabloid with some wannabe political yearning. Big titles and not much substance.

    Im living in Italy, at the moment, Ive been living in the UK for quite a long time (mainly in Scotland) and had a great time there. I met lots of cheerful and lovely people and I also found love.

    As my boyfriend has recently lost his job (in the UK) weve been thinking if him moving to Italy and staying with me could be a possible option, since I own the flat I live in and have a decent job, and then we decided that, no, it was much better for him to stay there and look for a job in his Country, because the working situation in Italy is really terrible and Italys going to economically collapse in some years.

    Still I think many of the comments and opinions Ive been reading here are quite unfair, full of stereotypes and unexpected anger. That was Il Giornale first purpose and, if we were on the *real* Internet Id tell you: LOL, youve been trolled and by a lame troll as well!

    My opinion? I love Italy, my Country, and Ill be always be rather proud to be Italian; Berlusconis a clown; I deeply love the UK and British men are better than Italians (IMHE), thats why I love a super-English guy ;-). Tehe!

    Dont get trolled, dont fall into the lame trap of someone whos only looking for media-brawl, please. Both our Countries are lovely, both our Countries have got their weak sides. Ive also seen urban decay and many degraded situations in the UK, still I try not to fall into stereotypes.

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  • 159. At 08:21am on 21 Jul 2009, niespass wrote:

    Italy is still a corrupt country. What they have in Italy, are police types with purple berrets that even manage to frighten anyone involved in gangster business. Though it would be ideal in Britain, it only helps that much.

    Italy is sill that corrupt, that of the countries better than Italy, there are 10 more republics than monarchies. By comparison, Spain is two points on the plus-side. Just todays useles fact.

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  • 160. At 08:26am on 21 Jul 2009, niespass wrote:

    Waddy wrote: Actually.....I found Venice quite smelly.

    My quote: Venice should be branded the most overpriced city in Europe. I do not fancy to pay 15 for an espresso at a cafe 10 cm under sea-level. Just wondering what I can get for that money in Rome.

    For some reason, it is Paris that is branded as the most overpriced.

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  • 161. At 08:53am on 21 Jul 2009, cadmio wrote:

    most people here claim they have 'been' to italy or abroad and they probably think their 'education' grants them the right to decide what is civil, what isn't, what is third world-like and what is developed.
    unfortunately, each and every single person's experiences bias any 'opinion' they think they have, and when these 'opinions' are not supported by numbers (to say the least - and that's still not enough) or by the display of a really deep insight, the 'opinions' become banter.
    it is simply not possible to compare things as big and multi-faceted as countries. even luxembourg is too difficult a task, despite its size and its small population, because it's a country and is therefore impossible to get it or put in a box to be looked at. think about one person and how complicated they are and multiply it by 493,000.
    it is really sad to read these 'opinions' of frustrated italian expats, or biased and uneducated british who think they know italy just because they read about it on-line or they went there thinking it's a place for tourists and got upset when they realized it wasn't: it's a country and like every other country in the world it has problems. the uk is not better, it's got tons of problems and those problems will never be solved, just like any other country's problems. they will only get worse (one of many examples about the uk: alcohol abuse, violence, crime and again violence seem to be rising daily - or so it seems - despite the neverending complaints about this aspect of british culture).
    unfortunately, because the world is populated by humans, things always remain the same. italy will never change and so won't the uk, france, japan and switzerland.
    it all depends on what *you* do.

    i'm an italian expat but i don't live in the uk - it has never interested me, despite the two efforts i made going there on vacation, and i'm not being tongue-in-cheek here - but i live in japan. there's a lot i could complain about here, but there's also a lot that makes me think it's the best country i've ever been to. but the thing is that both extremes would be wrong, because it only depends on me and how happy/unhappy about myself i am.
    japan is still "first world", i'm not saying i could enjoy my life in iraq (though maybe i could, given the right circumstances, who knows), just like italy is. and like the uk is. very different countries, where living is possible and it's only up to you.

    in italy we say "apri bocca e gli dai fiato", which means you just open your mouth and blow air through it, rather than thinking and then talking.

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  • 162. At 09:46am on 21 Jul 2009, Cavalier342 wrote:

    Oh for the love of god!! How can anyone in their thick mind compare us, the Brits to a pathetic excuse of a country like Italy??? Everything here is better by miles. Ok, crime is bad, well so its bad everywhere. Food, well i'd have my fish and chips and lard anyday over some crappy italian pizza or some other nonsense. and in the top ten.... Fiat cinquencento - now that makes me laugh my ass off. Ye, great car, fantastic car. If you're quite happy for it to fall apart after 200 yards. Oh, doesnt that apply to all italian cars. ye, sorry of course it does. You look at cars in this country, Ford mondeos, sierra's, Vauxhall Omegas, Cavaliers, Senators, fantastic cars that last forever. The only thing italian cars are good at is looks and driving(not in my opinion) and then breaking down 5 minutes later. They cant build anything right.
    Domestic appliances, we've had plenty of italian things, kettles, toasters, etc. well look what happened - broke. my mum stupidly bought some sniny metal toaster and kettle (italian) and the kettle has packed in after a couple of months, so we've replaced it with our previous Kenwood one. 5 years, and not a sign of trouble with it. As for the toaster, talk about user friendliness - or the lack of it. That sums up the pathetic country - all show and no go.
    sorted.

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  • 163. At 11:28am on 21 Jul 2009, gavinburns55 wrote:

    In certain respects Italy is a better place to live than Britain, but in many others it is not. Having lived in Rome for 12 years when visiting the UK the differences become glaringly obvious. Italian society is in demise with a cultural 'dumbing-down' as a result of the banal programming of TV; and who controls that? The city centres visited by tourists are reasonably well kept, but when you get into the suburbs it is a completely different situation; roads are in a dangerous state, cars parked everywhere and trash lining the streets. There is no or very little respect for fellow citizens, laws are constantly ignored, police, carabinieri etc are ominously absent; the law of the jungle rules. Living in Italy is a delight of contradiction that you either have to accept and find your own way, or get out. Those of us who have chosen to stay, and there are many, live a better quality of life but only at a price.

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  • 164. At 12:48pm on 21 Jul 2009, kaosfusion wrote:

    Mark,
    True and fair advice never so clearly stated, so its off to Italy then - or is it? My fiance and I are both dual nationals Italian-British, we've been trying to relocate to Italy for about 5 years now but can't for one overwhelming reason - NO EMPLOYMENT, or cerainly not enough of it. So sure, we could all go to Italy and be out of a job or earning pitiful wages as an English tutor or we could stay in Britain and watch the rain outside while we work away earning enough to go on holiday to Italy. Just to highlight this: Italian Population in Britian:
    150,000 Italian Born
    300,000 - 500,000 Italian Ancestry
    Up to almost 1% of total British population. I could also tell you about all the things that simply 'don't work' in Italy and would drive the average UK citizen bonkers after a very short amount of time but there is simply not the space......

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  • 165. At 1:11pm on 21 Jul 2009, nwallace wrote:

    Was recently at a BBQ and was speaking to an Italian who reckoned he could never return to Ital and have a job in the industry he is in here, and that if he hadn't moved to the UK he would stil lbe on a hotel desk at a resort in the south of italy.

    His dad didn't have a buisness in italy being an international jet setter which meant this guy could get no real work.

    His view is that italy is over 20 years behind the UK in all aspects of modern living.

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  • 166. At 3:12pm on 21 Jul 2009, bouncingbanker wrote:

    I don't think so - how could Italy possibly compete with the following:
    The Royal Family
    Winston Churchill
    Our sense of humour
    Our domination of popular music
    Margaret Thatcher
    Concorde
    Where nearly all the Formula 1 cars are made
    Our armed forces
    The spitfire
    The commonwealth

    I could go on and on....

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  • 167. At 6:58pm on 21 Jul 2009, DanUK7 wrote:

    As well as:

    The Royal Family
    Winston Churchill
    Our sense of humour
    Our domination of popular music
    Margaret Thatcher
    Concorde
    Where nearly all the Formula 1 cars are made
    Our armed forces
    The spitfire
    The commonwealth

    What about,

    Shakespeare

    Our history, including our kings and Queens and the British Empire (which was the largest at it's height, in history). Italian History is rather boring.

    Our contribution to the industrial revolution, and hi-tech industry today.

    Our armed forces/ Secret Services (E.g SAS, Best in the world)

    Great British Fashion designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, Paul smith e.t.c

    Our Universities; Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Bristol e.t.c

    Stephen Hawking

    The English language, as so many of you have already said. Is the most widely spoken language in the world.

    Its about time people started sticking up for GREAT Britain. Everyone nowadays seems to stick up for every other country except for Britain. Yes its good to have pride in your own country, but its about time people from the U.K had some in ours. For such a small island we are one of the most rich, powerful and influential in the world.

    and before anyone says its pathetic that i'm being nationalistic. I don't care.

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  • 168. At 5:54pm on 22 Jul 2009, marineJohn-H wrote:

    At 6:58pm on 21 Jul 2009, DanUK7:

    Well said Sir, I salute you. It`s good to know that this country still has some people with backbone.
    Britain always will be "GREAT".

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  • 169. At 1:55pm on 23 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    136. At 08:33am on 19 Jul 2009, Guidegx wrote:
    "...The Romans ruled England for 400 years and the THE eNGLISH still speak atrocious Italian--really once a barbarian always a barbarian---LOL..."

    Guidegx, the Romans ruled Britannia for 400 years (there was no England until long after their departure). As for language, the Roman tongue was Latin, neither the Italian nor English language existed at that time.

    Any reference to barbarianism is a Roman trait, and refers to those that were outside of Britannia (Caledonia, Hiberia and Cymru), as they were never truly conquered. Britons were praised by the Romans for their inginuitiy and agricultural expertise.

    So, all English speak atrocious Italian do they, and all Italians speak perfect English too I suppose.

    My dad's bigger than your dad


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  • 170. At 3:42pm on 23 Jul 2009, Steve - Iver wrote:

    167. At 6:58pm on 21 Jul 2009, DanUK7:

    Good one Dan.
    To add to your list, what about:

    Our Scientific achievements.
    First heart surgery in the world
    Leading the world in anti-viral research
    Cloning (whatever your views), as with Genetics
    Medical research into blindness, deafness, cancers
    Space Exploration (it exists and is world renowned)
    Technical achievements such as the Internet, Mobile Phones, CDs
    The works of Isaac Newton, Alexander Fleming, Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone, Edward Jenner, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell.

    Engineering, Technological and Industrial:
    the Steam Engine (James Watt) and subsequent Railway Engines (George Stephenson), Bridge building (IK Brunel), Architecture (Christopher Wren, Norman Foster), Sewerage Systems (Joseph Bazalgette), and not forgetting the great Alexander Graham Bell (the telephone), Charles Babbage and Alan Turing (the Computer), Frank Whittle and Barnes Wallis (aviation and jet propulsion)

    The arts:
    Charlie Chaplain, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Beatles, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, David Bowie, Stan Laurel, Queen (of Freddie Mercury fame), Damien Hurst, Punk, BritPop, Richard Burton, Joan and Jackie Collins, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Take That (and Robbie Williams), the Osbornes (Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly) and for that matter, Black Sabbath, George Michael (ok, he's Greek, but British too), Cliff Richard (sorry), the BBC Nature department for fantastic Natural World and Wildlife programs, Damien Hurst, Charles Saatchi and many many more.

    How do you measure greatness? You cannot, but greatness will measure you.




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  • 171. At 6:59pm on 24 Jul 2009, alphablogging wrote:


    When I saw the comment about the English speaking atrocious Italian and therefore being barbarians, that just took the biscuit!

    The reality for English speakers living in Italy is that people are so selfish and so desperate to learn English, presumably because it will improve their job prospects, that we are often treated like robots who have been sent to Italy just so that Italians can learn English from us. How selfish that people couldn't care less that you are trying to live in a country where if you want to integrate or even survive you need to be allowed to learn the language. It is also amazing how many friends you have if you are prepared to wander around Italy speaking English only and how few you have if you decide as you live in Italy you are going to speak in Italian.

    Bullying of English people in offices until they understand they are to speak English only (for the benefit of others) is common in Italy in my experience, as is being spoken over in English every time you try to speak in Italian.

    Maybe that's why we can never learn to speak Italian well!

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  • 172. At 11:31am on 27 Jul 2009, blueskyan wrote:

    I think the most important things here is the bank bailout's. I guess Italy having already had to deal with the Italian Mafia hardly want to start giving state subsidy to the Banking Mafia.

    Gordon Brown has no such issue with this if it gives him a slightly better chance of fooling us all into believing all is well until the next election to increase his chances. Considered 100's of billions well spent to him.

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  • 173. At 5:47pm on 02 Aug 2009, bjacob75 wrote:

    As an Italian (happily) living in the UK I find the question "which country is better?" too fuzzy and broad to answer. For me, life in UK is much much easier than in Italy: it's easier to find a job, less red tape, people are tolerant and open-minded in a way that in Italy we can only dream of. Italy is a country which is just perfect for the elderly, more so for the wealthy elderly. If you don't need to work, go and buy a cottage on the Riviera, the climate is nice, the crime is low, you will be fine; if you do need to work and pay taxes, you will be much better off in the UK. The country has its downsides, but society as a whole is (still?) healthier than in Southern Europe.
    Finally: please, don't assume that Berlusconi is a faithful representation of the average Italian mindset; the guy is a clown and half of Italy (and an even bigger chunk of us expats) just hates him.

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  • 174. At 7:01pm on 12 Aug 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    I think that Italy getting better than Britain, with all due respect to the people of United Kingdom...

    =Dennis Junior=

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  • 175. At 08:40am on 20 Aug 2009, censordodging wrote:

    apperitivo and celebrating Woman's Day by giving women flowers on the street make it............plus listening to Italian men discussing football together. There is no need to understand it, just appreciate

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  • 176. At 11:36am on 27 Aug 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Interestingly it seems that Italy has joined the UK in having a youth binge drinking problem ... but only in the affluent north.

    In Milan they are introducing fines of 450 euros for anyone under 16 who consumes alcohol in a bar (the law has always been there, just never enforced) - and the fine goes home to the parents!

    Will it work? Ha! Of course not, but it made me laugh that they acknowledge that there is a problem.

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  • 177. At 5:08pm on 02 Sep 2009, all-powerfultotti wrote:

    there shouldnt even be a debate about what country is better england or italy anyone and everyone should know the answer to this its italy straight up its obvious england sucks its the worst country to live in the weather sucks the crime is bad most people are fat and ugly its full of muslims they suck at sport they need us italians and foreigners to help them in sport thats how bad they are italy you got weather beaches are beautiful men and women are hot food is lovely loads of tourist attractions england is just bad everyone hates england even the english are always looking to get away to spain or portugal or something and the english are just always looking for a fight there all alcholics they go on holiday to other countries and do give a toss they get pissed try to start fights mess around in the bars and cities there such a disgrace and the queen wow who gives a toss about the queen and shes not even english she has some german in her hahaha dont even have a queen who is truly english great country cant wait till the old women dies

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  • 178. At 5:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, all-powerfultotti wrote:

    also if anyone wants to carry on this pointless debate on which country is better please add my msn antonioditri@hotmail.co.uk and we will sort it out and ill take anyone on

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  • 179. At 5:39pm on 25 Oct 2009, bryan778 wrote:

    As an Italian, I can tell everybody that none is celebrating in Italy, except few Berlusconi's cronies. The "Il Giornale" is pure propaganda, it's not a serious newspaper. The crisis is hitting hard here too, with soaring unemployment and rampant factory closures. The "surpass" is entirely due to currency fluctuations. Yes, the recession can be less severe here than in Britain, but that's because the last year Italy registered significative GDP growth was in 2000, and life standards are locked to early 1990s' levels. So there weren't property/debt bubbles inflating, but wealth growth was slower than in Britain. Pessimism had been widespread in Italy for almost 20 years: in 1992 the Tangentopoli crime probe made clear that we had a corrupt leading class unwilling and unable to really reform itself. The next we had was Berlusconi.
    Italy is moving along anyway thanks to a large part of the country
    willing to work hard and be honest,despite the backwardness of the politicos and their buraucracy. Economic reforms and market liberalizations were too little and too late. Incidentally, this avoided some mistakes of the anglo-saxon model, but many of the benefits too. In 1987, at the time of the first "sorpasso" there was much optimism and the hope to be a "serious" nation. Now the climate is totally different. Many (most?) Italians (at least those who can write and read the English language, I would say) are highly respectful of Britain, its democracy, its modernity. And we have understood how to have a low key approach when comparing ourselves to other nations, most of us know our merits but also the great limits of our country.

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