Italy’s decentralized press serves to emphasize the strength of regionalism in the country. Local TV is popular, too, in the light of little competition from the national channels. If you know where to look, journalistic standards can be high but you might find yourself turning to foreign TV channels or papers if you want an international outlook on events.
The Italian press is largely regionally based, with just a few newspapers available across the country. The centre-left La Repubblica (w repubblica.it) and authoritative right-slanted Corriere della Sera (w corriere.it) are the two most widely read, published nationwide with local supplements, but originating in Milan. Provincial newspapers include La Stampa (w lastampa.it), the daily of Turin, and Il Messaggero (w ilmessaggero.it) of Rome – both rather stuffy, establishment sheets. Il Mattino (w ilmattino.it) is the more readable publication of Naples and the Campania area, while other southern editions include the Giornale di Sicilia and La Gazzetta del Sud. Many of the imprints you see on newsstands are the official mouthpieces for political parties: L’Unità (w unita.it) is the party organ of the former Communist Party, while La Padania is the press of the right-wing, regionalist Lega Nord party. The traditionally radical Il Manifesto has always been regarded as one of the most serious and influential sources of Italian journalism. Perhaps the most avidly read newspapers of all, however, are the specialist sports papers, most notably the Corriere dello Sport (w corrieredellosport.it) and the pink Gazzetta dello Sport (w gazzetta.it) – both essential reading if you want an insight into the Italian football scene.
English-language newspapers can be found for around three times their home cover-price in all the larger cities and most resorts, usually a day late, though in Milan and Rome you can sometimes find papers on the day of publication. In remoter parts of the country it’s not unusual for foreign papers to be delayed by several days.
To keep up with Italian news in English, go to w lifeinitaly.com.
TV and radio
Italian TV is appalling, with mindless quiz shows, variety programmes and chat shows squeezed in between countless advertisements. There are three state-owned channels – RAI 1, 2 and 3 – along with the channels of Berlusconi’s Mediaset Empire – Italia 1, Rete 4, Canale 5 – and a seventh channel, Canale 7. Satellite television is fairly widely distributed, and three-star hotels and above usually offer a mix of BBC World, CNN and French-, German- and Spanish-language news channels, as well as MTV and Eurosport.
As for radio, the most serious RAI channel is RAI 3, while the most listened-to pop radio stations are RTL (102.5 FM) and Radio Deejay (frequency depends on where you are listening – find them on w radiodeejay.it).