Psychoanalyst Carl Jung (Photo: Getty)

Carl Jung meets David Icke (and writes a book of bonkers business-speak)

What do you get if you cross renegade psychoanalyst Carl Jung with lizard-men conspiracist David Icke? It is a question…

Nicole Minetti (with statutory sunglasses) in Milan in 2011. The bunga-bunga girl, catapulted into politics by Berlusconi, was accused of aiding and abetting prostitution and submitting fraudulent expenses

Good time girls: Italian women prefer sunglasses to babies, according to Nicholas Farrell

Like so many Britons who chased the dream and woke up in Italy I have contemplated writing a book about…

Ezra Pound in the early 1920s

Ezra Pound – the fascist years

‘There are the Alps. What is there to say about them?/ They don’t make sense. Fatal glaciers, crags cranks climb,…

Straying from the Way

No sensible writer wastes good material. A couple of years ago Tim Parks published a memoir, Teach Us to Sit…


A cult of virility and violence

Mussolini’s brutal sex-addiction makes for dispiriting reading, but provides material for a fine psychological study, says David Gilmour

The scandal that inspired La Dolce Vita

A new account of a classic Italian mystery

Wool of bat and lizard leg

When Julia Blackburn and her Dutch husband Herman move into an old village house perched on a cliff high above the Italian Ligurian Riviera they become part of a dwindling community in a landscape of forests and deserted villages with roofless ruins almost swallowed up by the riotous undergrowth.


Bella vistas

Many moons ago when I went to Sissinghurst to ask Nigel Nicolson (late of this parish) if I could write about his mother, Vita Sackville-West, he raised his hands, and eyebrows, in horror, ‘Oh! Not another book about my mother!’ These two titles on Italian gardens may provoke a similar reaction, for there has been a recent run of revisiting via Charles Latham’s vintage Country Life photographs, Edith Wharton’s Edwardian musings and Georgina Masson’s 1961 classic, now revived.


A reluctant country

The unification of Italy 150 years ago was a terrible mistake, according to David Gilmour, imposing a national state on a diverse collection of people with little sense of patria. But Barry Unsworth thinks it’s too early to cry failure

Not so serene

Is there anything original left to say about Venice? Probably not, but that doesn’t stop the books from coming, tied in, as they mostly now are, with a television series.

Acute observations

In the 1950s, when I was 14, I spent a winter fortnight with my parents at the Villa Mauresque, which Somerset Maugham had lent to them to entertain the recently widowed Rab Butler and his daughter, Sarah.