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The Italian Wife: a breath-taking and heartbreaking pre-WWII romance set in Italy

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All my friends and family are so excited to meet you!’ That was my Italian then-girlfriend, Maggie, a couple of months into our relationship. A modest plan to make his homes more attractive by offering a local cable TV service, Telemilano, which showed light entertainment and reruns of American soap operas such as Dallas, grew into a network of local channels until, by the end of the 1980s, his trash TV empire of game shows and barely clothed hostesses came to dominate the Italian airwaves. However, the more time we spent together, the more obvious our different expectations of how to show love became. Maggie and I first met at university in London but it wasn’t until a chance encounter at Pisa airport a couple of years later – me travelling, her in her native land – that we got to see each other in a different context and went from classmates to something more.

Feature Film, Italy, extramarital-affair (Sorted by - IMDb

For every Italian that hated him for his monopolistic control of the media and abuse of power, there was another who admired his business acumen and was amused by his lowbrow larks. As the writer Curzio Malaparte wrote, Berlusconi’s qualities and defects “are the qualities and defects of all Italians”. Then, of course, I got down on one knee – much to the chagrin of my mother-in-law, who didn’t get the same gesture from Maggie’s dad! That said, I’d like to think I’ve adopted some of the Italian style in how I show love in our marriage. A one-time cruise-ship crooner, Berlusconi used his television networks and immense wealth to launch his long political career, during which he inspired both loyalty and loathing.Relationships are different, of course, but the same principles apply. Grand romantic gestures tend to be rare, and for me to look someone in the eye and tell them how I felt about them was always deeply uncomfortable. I used to simply hope my affection shone through with my actions rather than my words. In 1994, he took 21 per cent of the vote in the general election and found himself prime minister, beginning a two-decade domination of Italian politics through which he shamelessly advanced his own interests. My experience of true love has been magnified by cultural difference but there’s a universal lesson (Picture: James Appleton) Silvio Berlusconi, the boastful billionaire media mogul who, despite scandals over his sex-fuelled parties and allegations of corruption, was Italy’s longest-serving prime minister, has died at the age of 86. English–Arabic English–Bengali English–Catalan English–Czech English–Danish English–Hindi English–Korean English–Malay English–Marathi English–Russian English–Tamil English–Telugu English–Thai English–Turkish English–Ukrainian English–Vietnamese

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Perhaps the most surprising part of the Italian crisis is that Berlusconi has emerged as a selfless voice of reason My experience of true love has been magnified by cultural difference but there’s a universal lesson here. Maggie was far more outwardly affectionate. She would have no problem using terrifying words like ‘love’ and telling me, both in person and via text, how happy being together made her. The absence of unprompted loving declarations came across as an imbalance: if she could say and do these things, why couldn’t I? Surely that meant I loved her less? And when she took the time to express these concerns, I felt uncomfortably pressured to behave in a way that was alien to me.

The former Italian prime minister with George W Bush, right, and first lady Laura Bush, on his arrival at Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Texas in 2003

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