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What Dolce Vita?

The New York Times’ Earl Wilson ponders the disorganisation and chaos of beautiful Italy as he attempts to board an airplane from an airport that looks the same as it did in 1944. “ I actually got nostalgic for U.S. air travel. I did. It felt weird, like pining for root-canal treatment, and it happened right here in the city of Michelangelo,” he remarks. He describes Florence airport as “a few boxy pre-fabricated units [that] were offloaded from a truck a few decades ago and thrown together” as if a temporary measure has been fossilized in time. Anyone who has lived or visited the beautiful cities of Italy will know that while bureaucratic and heavily regulated (a hangover from Mussolini perhaps?), finding a way of getting anything done (big or small; infrastructure or broken window) takes about five times as long here as it would anywhere else. Why? Wilson says: “When I lived in Rome there was also much discussion about building a bridge to connect Sicily to the mainland. Plans were drawn up. But then what would have happened to the guys who operate the ferries? End of story. Creative churn, America’s staple diet (unless you’re too big to fail), is not the Italian way. Sensual stasis is.”
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