The current political, fiscal and constitutional crisis in Rome, the most serious since the murder of Aldo Moro forty years ago, can only gather steam with the calling of new elections.
With the collapse risk of its Palace of Justice and the results of the last administrative elections, the city of Bari in the meantime becomes the mirror of the current Italian political plight.
The new elections set for June 10 will be a test of things to come.
Final ratification of a new government requires the approval of President Sergio Mattarella and then a vote in Parliament. Meanwhile, a close reading of the Constitution spells out a new premier's responsibilities.
Until lunchtime Wednesday Italy seemed to be plunging into the year's second round of national general elections. But in a surprising turnabout, Silvio Berlusconi dropped his opposition to a populist government of the Five Star movement and the Lega. The irony is that "what couldn't be done in two months was in a couple of hours."
Sixty days after national general elections in Italy, no government is in sight despite long and tense negotiations among the parties. As the politicians' tempers flare, the long-suffering President Sergio Mattarella is left to seek a way out of the impasse.
On April 21 Rome celebrates its official birthday, 2,771 years after the city's legendary founding by Romulus in 753 BC. For the occasion a parade of 2,000 in costume -- gladiators, politicians, priestesses -- will take place. After exhibits and lectures the day ends with a traditional gigantic fireworks display.
Street Art. With Silvio Berlusconi, Matteo Salvini
President Sergio Mattarella appoints Senate President Maria Elisabetta Casellati to conduct exploratory negotiations for a new government. By way of light relief, in a street art cartoon copying Caravaggio's famous painting politicians are satirized as cardsharps.
Experts here disagree over whether the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China will have an effect on Italy and its economy, and to what extent. In particular, if U.S. wine exports to China decline because of higher tariffs, Italian wine sales may rise even further.
On Thursday, the second day of formal consultations in the Quirinal Palace, the risk of new elections continued to cast a shadow over the talks guided by President Sergio Mattarella. And in a changing Italy its youthful new Parliament just may prove unpredictable.
For the old and new pols charged with running Italy, the Ides of March are still approaching, which is to say the day when one or the other is done in. At the moment all the players are still aiming knives at each other, even as deadlines loom.
It is tough economic situation facing young Di Maio if he does manage to become premier of a M5S-dominated government. Small wonder then that last week this youth, born at Pomigliano d'Arco near Naples, made a trip to a Neapolitan church to kiss the relic of the beloved saint San Gennaro, whose blood is believed to liquefy annually.
Despite his party's resounding lead over every other party in Italy, Di Maio's M5S failed to achieve the 40% necessary to gain control of the government -- at least not yet. But on Friday the newly installed 630-member Parliament and 315-member Senate begins electing their presidents, in a notable show of horse-trading and power.