April, 2006. The big man Berlusconi, richest in Italy, is feeling desperate in the days before elections. He tells a crowd of shopkeepers: I have too much esteem for the intelligence of Italians to think that they could be such coglioni as to vote against their own interests.
Coglioni. Literally, "testicles." Millions of countrymen and women reduced by their Prime Minister to anatomical unmentionables.
Then something happens. In sunlit piazzas, under stone arcades, where old men in knit caps smoke filterless cigarettes, in country towns where Roman ducts still bring the water, in fashion capitals, everywhere, on people’s lips, on buttons pinned to smart sportcoats, on t-shirts, on stickers adorning the bums of small cars, above the din of motor scooters and factories and loud insistent conversation, the same phrase stands out, steps up, everywhere and everyone together says WE ARE ALL COGLIONI.