Italy is in a bad mood, and people from Venice to Naples are worried the current “malessere”—or “malaise—will never lift. On the heels of a Cambridge poll showing Italians to be the unhappiest folks in Europe, Ian Fisher of the New York Times finds a nation whose low-tech charms are wearing thin and whose inhabitants are weary of political corruption, organized crime, and economic doldrums.
“It’s a country that has lost a little of its will for the future,” said the mayor of Rome. Seventy percent of 20- and 30-somethings live with their parents. Internet use, wages, and foreign investment lag in the EU. Even culture is suffering in the home of Fellini and da Vinci. Comedian Beppe Grillo is gaining renown for his cry of "Basta!"—or "Enough!"—but only time will tell if he can spark a Renaissance.