Italy: Malato di Ferro

Intended by Italy's constitution makers to be a merely ceremonial office, the presidency of Italy has actually turned out to be an important steady ing influence during times of confusion in Italian politics. Hence, when President Antonio Segni was felled by a cerebral stroke last August, Italians were concerned not only for the frail, oft-ailing Segni, whom they had long affectionately called malato di ferro —"the iron invalid" — but for their nation as well.

The iron invalid bounced back again, by last week was able to speak halt ingly, write with his left hand. But it seemed unlikely that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!