In this episode, we catch up with some renovations happening at the villa and Paul’s adventure in local small town Italian politics.

Topics we cover:

  How we added three new bathrooms upstairs

  How we saved a lot of time and money by using existing sewer pipes instead of adding in new ones and new construction to our first floor

  How Paul loves using Farrow & Ball paints

  Paul’s explanation between dyes and pigments

  Impressionist paintings

  One villa guest who stayed with us, Natvar Bhavsar who used pigments in his painting

  Paul’s adventure in politics

  Three strange rules (strange to us) that exist in Italian elections

  First off there were 290 candidates for 17 city council seats

  One reason is each of the parties, of which there are many, they have to nominate a certain number of people in order to be considered a “list” or a “party”

  All these parties then form coalitions, there were three this election nominating three men for mayor

  The next rule that was strange was the fact that you have two votes for city council, and if you want to use both votes, one has to be for a man and one for a woman

  While understanding the thinking behind this, it seems like a strange law

  In a national election, you are voting for a party, not for a person

  In Italy, people always lament about how people here get jobs not so much based on merit, but on who they know, etc.

  However, when it comes to politics, most people don’t seem to be voting based on merits, but on the fact they are voting for their cousin, or their brother-in-law, or their neighbor, etc.

  The election outcome

  Why the one left wing coalition is not throwing his support behind the other left-wing coalition

  What it will take for Paul’s party to win in the runoff election

  Paul’s speech during the election

  Steven’s surprise in the passion and dedication people showed for a small town election, holding debates and getting very fired up

  How some of the people during the debates were spitting on the other candidates

  How the whole town almost shuts down a few days before the election

  There is a 48 media blackout before the election

  What the incumbents did to win the election

  The results of the election for Paul

  How because there are so many candidates running, a guy who got 2% of the vote got elected to city council

  Why this seems so confusing for us coming from a two party system

  NOTE/UPDATE:  Paul’s party did not win in the runoff election

  Why Paul decided to run

  How Paul uses Facebook to influence the government here

Some more about Italian politics

• Italy is run through a Parliamentary Republic with a multi-party system.

• Italy has been a Parliamentary Republic since June 2, 1946 when the monarchy was abolished

  Executive power is held by the Council of Ministers which is led by a Prime Minister

  Legislative power is held by two house of parliament primarily, and secondarily by the Council of Ministers which can introduce bills and holds the majority of the parliament

  The judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative and headed by the High Council of the Judiciary

Paul’s Speech:

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You might think growing up in a small town in Texas wouldn’t prepare you to live the Italian lifestyle. But in many ways — the family values, the small town culture, the love of food — is very similar to what you’ll find in Italian culture. In fact, I expect it’s pretty universal. Having been married to an Italian for 20 years, it’s been fun to learn and explore the rich Italian culture and share it with you.


  1. This is by far THE BEST explanation of Italisn elections I have ever read ! Steven, you are brilliant. I really appreciate this! Tell Paul his speech was wonderful…from the heart and true:)