Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: EUI

Vecchie foto fiorentine

I found these pictures from 2013 in my archives. I am not sure I took them myself: I think I saw them on Facebook at the time and saved them on my desktop. Please do let me know if these pictures happen to be yours and I am violating some copyright law.


These pictures are good memories of San Domenico di Fiesole now that I go there with a different mindset. Perhaps the Institute is changing too. Gates are mushrooming and people tend to be sober and uptight. It feels like l’esprit that characterised those hippie, privileged researchers is leaving room to a much more corporate enterprise. But maybe it is just me gazing with nostalgia at a truly wonderful period of my life.

Who cares?

On June 29 I presented my Ph.D. thesis in 180 seconds as part of our nccr – on the move event entitled The Migratory Realities of Switzerland in 180 Seconds.

You can also watch the other presentations following this link on our nccr – on the move website.


2014: Origins

Qualifier, Politricks: lost 6-0
Qualifier, Cinghialisti Gialli: lost 5-3
Qualifier, Montecarla: lost 3-2

2015: New brand and first victory

Qualifier, Rokkan Rawls: won 4-2
Qualifier, The Spirit of Capitalism: lost 2-1
Qualifier, Zampatistas: lost 2-1
Qualifier, Schumaniacs: lost 3-2

2016: Betrayed

Qualifier, First-order conditions: lost 4-2
Qualifier, Inglorious Ballstars: lost 2-0
Qualifier, Hurrikeyens: lost 4-2

2017: Bronze is the new gold

Qualifier, Salviateci: won 10-4
Qualifier, Inglorious Ballstars: tied 4-4
Qualifier, Flush Royale: won 7-0
Qualifier, New Team: lost 4-0
Quarterfinal, The Bee Team: won 2-1
Semifinal, Smash IT: lost
Final for bronze, Carmen and Rafa: won 2-1

2018: A team packed with doctors

Qualifier, Wolfpack: won 7-3
Qualifier, Buon Talentos: won 7-1
Qualifier, Turbocane: won 8-3
Quarterfinal, Farcelona: won 2-1 at the extra time
Semifinal, I buoni, i brutti, i cattivi: lost 4-2
Final for bronze, Salviateci: lost 3-1


Firenze a giugno

11 April

Important announcement: on 11 April 2018 I became a doctor in Political and Social Sciences (tutto vero). Erik and Monika took some pictures upon the occasion and then we all headed to the phenomenal Blu Bar in Fiesole to celebrate.

Lorenzo Piccoli - thesis.png


Why and how women in Europe continue to be oppressed

Since 2011 my university has provided a concrete contribution to the European and international debate on governance through a two-day event with qualified and plural participation. Every year now, at the beginning of May, the State of the Union gathers political leaders, members from civil society, and personalities from the business world to join selected professors and discuss the current state of affairs of the European Union.

I was there in 2014, when I listened to a truly remarkable speech on the vision of Europe by Matteo Renzi, and then I was there again in 2015, when Renzi delivered a more demagogic and way less impressive speech on the topic. Other than politicians, however, the State of the Union is worth following for the ideas put forward by academic and researchers.

Unfortunately I could not be there this year – dling! I am in Switzerland – but I have followed some of the sessions online and I wanted to share with you the Keynote address by Professor Ruth Rubio Marin on the topic Women in Europe and the World.


It is a short read that contains a rich list of data and practical advices. If you can, it is worth giving this speech fifteen minutes of your time.

Ruling the void

What good is political science if it flubs the biggest development in American politics in generations? Using this question, some commentators are turning “political science didn’t predict Trump” as the 2016 version of “economists didn’t predict the 2008 recession“. But this is factually misleading: there are plenty of political science books anticipating Trump’s rise.

For instance, the findings of Peter Mair’s “Ruling the Void” show how strong outsiders could escape the control party rankings used to have on their candidates. The book was published in 2013, two years after its author had unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Obviously, Mair didn’t predict the rise of Donald Trump. Nonetheless, his book explains why someone like him, like Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, or Marine Le Pen could succeed against the odd.

Once upon a time, political parties created a vital link between the public and political decision making. Now this is no longer true: parties have become glorified spin doctors for state power as their leaders are more interested in their role as part of the government than in representing their voters. Traditional elites have progressively abandoned domestic loyalties, forming a sort of global elite, like the one that assembled in Davos one month ago. Mair suggested that traditional political parties have become glorified spin doctors for state power and he quoted another political scientist, Rudy Andeweg: “the party … becomes the government’s representative in the society rather than the society’s bridgehead in the state.

It is become of this context that at some point voters rebel against the traditional parties and look for outsiders. Like Martin Wolf wrote some time ago, “it is not hard to see why ordinary people … are alienated. They are losers, at least relatively; they do not share equally in the gains. They feel used and abused.” In Italy these people vote for another party, say the Five Star Movement; in the US they vote for outsiders shaking up the traditional party ranks. Elites need to work out intelligent answers to voters’ discomfort. But this is for politicians to find. Good political science, on its part, should remain concerned with asking the right questions.


Going Dutch

So our quest for the Coppa Pavone is now officially over: we lost our final match 3 to 1 and we are out of the tournament. No regrets though: the other team was simply stronger than we were and we kept trying until the very end. Judging from the picture it is hard to say we just lost a crucial match.


Today Martijn wrote us:

This morning I woke up with the somewhat depressing thought that you now all must have a sense of what it is to be Dutch: Playing in orange, being liked by the crowd, but never winning a thing.

I will leave you with that.

Onto a grand finale

It is one of those things that I start without paying too much attention to it. And then, without consciously realizing it, I start getting more and more sucked in until the point I realize I am spending half of my time thinking and working on it. Since its inauguration on Monday last week, the 2015 edition of the Coppa Pavone is taking too much attention, energy, and passion out of me.

Let me first introduce our team – once again. The Ladybirds 2015 season – full blast.


ladybirds walkin-in theme


Unexpectedly, we won our inaugural match 4 to 2 against the Rokkan Rawls. It was a thrilling, tense, and fair game that made us we feel confident. Maybe too confident. And in spite of playing at our best, we lost the following two matches. We lost 2 to 1 against The Spirit of Capitalism thanks to their solid defence and great team work. And then we lost 3 to 2 against the Zampantistas thanks to their combination of Italian catenaccio and Irish long balls. In spite of the devastating losses, both games were great fun. You can, however, observe the rapidly deteriorating morale of our team by following Mariana’s evolving expression from picture #1 (second player standing from the left) to picture #3 (first player sitting from the right).

Now the cup is up for grabs. We will play our final match of the group stage on Monday late afternoon against the Schumaniacs. Unlike us, this is a serious team that has won all the matches it has played thus far. But in football you never know and the only thing we can reasonably assume at the moment is that a win for our side would suffice for letting us to the quarter-finals. It will be complicated like cooking a good dish, but we have the attention, energy, and passion for making it through.

Ladybirds 2015

Here we go again: tomorrow the 20th edition of the Coppa Pavone will start.

The Coppa Pavone, I am copying and pasting from my university’s website, “is the most important annual football event, the Coppa Pavone tournament takes place in early June after the deadlines are past and before the June Ball, at the EUI’s very own campo sportivo at Villa Schifanoia. Teams can be of any size, but the rules state that there must always be at least one female player on the pitch at all times, so keep that in mind“. There are some nice pictures of the 2013 Coppa here. And some pictures of our team last year: the Ladybirds, or Seduce and Destroy as our motto goes.

So last year we competed in a tournament with 18 teams. We were in a group of four, meaning that we got to play three matches. We could have played more, if only we won two. But we didn’t. In fact we did not win any of them. We lost the first 6 to 0, the second 5 to 3, and the third 3 to 2. It must be clear that the purpose, our purpose I mean, was to score at least one goal. Measured against those standards, we did just fine. I guess some people can find this arguable, but let us not get lost in the details.

This year we have no idea of what we can do: there are 19 teams and we are in a group of five, meaning that we will get to play at least four matches. Tomorrow we will play our first one and it will be against the team that beat us 6 to 0 last year. They are called Rokkan Rawls and we are called the Lady Birds (Revengers) and our sponsor is Gingerello. Seductive and destructive days lay ahead.