Italy: The Touch That Failed

It began the way any Italian comic opera should: amid flowers, panoply and applause. The fanfare last fall was for little Italian Foreign Minister Amintore Fanfani, off in New York greeting the Pope, making speeches and generally cutting a bella figura as the first of his nation to be honored with the presidency of the U.N. General Assembly. Then—omen of trouble—came the first slip: he fell on an icy New York sidewalk, mildly injuring his leg.

As the mishap hit the headlines back home, all Italy chuckled. Fanfani had hardly smoothed down his dignity...

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