For Venetian Prefect Carlo Boffi, "Migration is the problem of problems for Italy and the EU -- an extremely complex problem of Biblical dimensions." Nevertheless it is heartening to see that kind hearts can still prevail.
For better and sometimes for worse, 2016 had its memorable moments. Given the importance of the arts in Italy, among the events of the year listed below are also major art exhibitions and performances of grand opera.
Peek into Santa's personal Italian backpack, and you will find not only a few year-ender gifts, but also a calender sketching out events for the year ahead. The most serious: national general elections.
Within hours of losing the constitutional referendum Dec. 4, Matteo Renzi submitted his resignation as Premier, one of the few in Italian postwar history whose government lasted over 1,000 days. The huge turnout and the massive 60% vote against the referendum caught pundits by surprise.
Movimento Cinque Stelle leader Beppe Grillo during the demonstration in Rome last week
When Beppe Grillo, Movimento Cinque Stelle leader, took a tumble into one of the myriad Roman potholes, the sarcastic chortles of his opponents echoed all over Italy. Why? Because the mayor, who is expected to fix up Rome and its streets, is from his party.
President Sergio Mattarella presented awards to 40 outstanding Italian citizens for their unique contributions to their country. Recipients, ranging in age from 18 to 90, came from all walks of life: teaching, medicine, music, police, sports.
Pax Romana DAR members with sculptor Peter Rockwell (4th from left) at restored tomb
The green and quiet Cimitero Acattolico, which lies next to the ancient Cestia Pyramid, is is beloved of tourists who visit the tombs of the poets Keats and Shelley, and who bask in its romantic atmosphere. This year it celebrates its third centennial.
For the third year in a row Milan is attracting more visitors than does Rome, despite the Vatican's proclaiming this as a Jubilee Year. Only in part thanks to the Expo effect, among tourists today Milan ranks as the 14th most popular city in the world.