During the circuslike years of Silvio Berlusconi, Italians grew flinchingly accustomed to being the butts of the world’s jokes.
Will they have the last laugh?
They look toward America and wonder. Me, too. In Donald Trump, we have a version of their buffoonish former prime minister — a clown all our own. He baffles and appalls much of Europe.
Here in Italy, he prompts an additional reaction: relief, even satisfaction, that another country is proving vulnerable to an emphatically tanned, flamboyantly randy and frequently ridiculous billionaire who makes promises he can’t possibly keep.
The Ferragamo is on the other foot.
“We do feel, partly, ha-ha-ha,” said Maria Valentini, a professor at a university just outside Rome. “It’s your turn.”