A Search for the Source of Italy’s Malaise

A look at Italy, where research suggests inhabitants have a lower degree of satisfaction with the status quo than their peers across a broad range of opinions and indicators, from antipathy for membership of the EU, concerns about loneliness and fear of unemployment to a declining birth rate, and an increasing number of academics leaving the country.

Queens of Infamy: The Rise of Catherine de’ Medici

The first instalment of a two part look at Catherine de’ Medici’s storied life, running from her birth into one of the most powerful families in Europe, to a precarious position as an unpopular Dauphine of France, pleading her fate with her father-in-law Francis 1st.

An unsolved murder at Italy’s most notorious tower block

The story of a murder at an apartment block marketed as a luxury development when it opened in 1968, but now “like an inverse of Dante’s layers of hell”. The building is disintegrating, but houses a large and diverse population, including an estimated 50 drug dealers. This is a story about the changes in fortune in the Italian economy, urban development, immigration, integration, and failing public infrastructure.

Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples

A new entry in a series that profiles “badass world-historical women of centuries past.” Joanna of Naples had an extraordinary life even by the standards of the 14th century’s topsy-turvy geopolitics. Escape from her castle by night, papal trials, attacks on her kingdom by her own relations and four husbands of varying quality all feature in this engaging portrait.