When Cecile Kyenge became the first black government minister in Italian history, the appointment was hailed as a landmark for diversity. But since Kyenge became integration minister, she has been the target of death threats and vicious racial slurs.
The debate highlights growing intolerance and what Prime Minister Enrico Letta has called a shameful chapter for Italy.
On the first Saturday of August, a funny thing happened to 150,000 people on their way to the Roman Forum.
While a pianist and sax player set the mood, people looked upward and watched anxiously as acrobat Andrea Loreni made his way slowly on a tightrope stretched across Via dei Fori Imperiali, the wide avenue flanking the Forum and leading to the Coliseum.
The acrobat's walk was meant as a metaphor, a bridge reuniting ancient squares.
Every two years for over a century, lovers of contemporary art convene in Venice for the oldest and largest noncommercial art exhibition in the world.
The Venice Biennale has none of the glitz and conspicuous consumption of art auctions in London and New York. Instead, it's a dizzying and eclectic array of sights by both celebrity artists and total unknowns.
This year's works are not just paintings, sculptures and installations, but also performances, videos and music.