This is an excellent article summing up a lot of what’s wrong with Italy these days:
What I find so frustrating about it, is that, as Beppe Severgnini says, a lot of what makes Italy wonderful is unique. You simply can’t find another Venice or Rome or even the characteristic small towns that make much of the countryside so engaging elsewhere. The amount and variety of beauty, both natural and man-made in Italy is stunning. If it weren’t so, it would be easy to look at the gently failing society and simply leave for a more attractive life elsewhere. But it’s not at all easy to give up what’s good about Italy – many of my favorite things there, a drink in the piazza with friends, a good meal somewhere in the Colli Euganei or Berici, cruising on my bike on the backroads, riding by elegant villas and farms… are things that simply can’t be had elsewhere. Beyond the place, the people are (generalizing, of course) inventive, clever, tasteful, intelligent, and when given the chance, hard working. I suppose I’m biased, given that my wife is Italian and so are some of my best friends.
Here’s hoping that things will hit bottom and start to improve.