Corridors of Silence

Today, Washington views Italy in a different light than it used to.

Issue: Winter 1996-1997

When I was a correspondent in Rome in the early 1980s I regularly did the rounds of four centers of political power. First stop was usually the Christian Democrat Party headquarters in Piazza del Ges, across the square from Giacomo della Porta's severe facade of the Jesuit church del Ges, prototype of early Baroque churches all over Europe. Until 1992, the Democrazia Cristiana-or dc-had been the main party in Italy's fifty-six postwar governments, almost all of which were coalitions, and to a large extent Italy was run from the party's ancient palazzo. Dark blue Alfa Romeos drove in and out of its cobbled courtyard. A continuous procession of politicians, diplomats, supplicants, and hangers-on filed past the portico, which bristled with police.

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