The winding down of my semester in Rome is completely contrary to the news in Rome lately as things keep heating up. It is no surprise that I have lived in Italy during one of its most turbulent times. While not quite on par with WWII and the reign of Mussolini, these past four months in Italy have shown that slowly but surely, change is starting to creep into a nation that for so long moved glacially on anything (it still does) and that momentous change is also taking place in the Church with the election of the first pope from South America.
Some recent developments to share with you:
- The Vatican has announced that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will move into his new home in Vatican City tomorrow, Thursday, May 2. He will live out the remainder of his life in this building that used to house nuns. Benedict has been living in Castel Gandolfo, which is located just outside of Rome and has for many years been the papal summer retreat, since February 28, the day he became the first pope in modern times to resign. This move tomorrow will be truly historic as it will be the first time in history that two popes are basically living in the same place. Benedict has promised not to influence Pope Francis’ decisions and has vowed to “remain hidden to the world” and “withdraw to a life of prayer.“
- On April 20, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano became the first Italian President in history (since the Italian Republic was formed in 1948) to be re-elected to a second term. Napolitano, who is 87, was re-elected to a seven-year term. Traditionally, Italy’s presidents are older men who have had some experience in government. Despite the fact that he is elderly, Napolitano agreed to stay on as president after the parties in Italian parliament agreed that he was the only man for the job to help form the new government. Many speculate that because of his age, Napolitano will not serve out his full term and will instead retire when he feels the government is stable enough. He has been serving as Italy’s president since 2006.
- Enrico Letta has been appointed as the probable candidate for prime minister by President Napolitano this past weekend. Finally!! After over 50 days without a government as the national elections on February 24 and 25 produced no clear winners, the parties have finally appeared to come to some consensus. You can read a short article here about the latest developments. This new government could bring about the end of the second republic and the birth of the third republic in Italy, but it is not yet clear whether this will be the case.
Today is Italy’s Labor Day, and it is also May 1st and you can tell by being outside that Rome’s weather is starting to transition to summer. Yesterday the high was 87 depending on where you were and today is looking to be a repeat. I studied for final exams on the roof top terrace at my school yesterday (pictures below)….remind me again why I am leaving Rome????