British man set for ten marathon Italy challenge

A British man has taken on the challenge of running the equivalent of ten marathons in seven days through the Italian hills, in tribute to his grandparents.

British man set for ten marathon Italy challenge
Miles Skinner will run 420km from northern Tuscany to the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square to raise money for the Monte San Martino Trust. Photo provided by Mark Skinner

Miles Skinner will run 420km from northern Tuscany to the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square to raise money for the Monte San Martino Trust, a charity dedicated to the memory of heroic Italians during World War Two.

During the war, his grandfather was helped by Italians after being captured in north Africa and imprisoned at Sulmona in southern Italy.

After the Armistice in September 1943, he escaped from the camp he was held at and eventually succeeded in rejoining the Allies.

“All his life, he felt a debt of gratitude to the people of the Italian countryside, who risked their lives by hiding and feeding Allied prisoners such as him who were on the run from the fascists,” Skinner told The Local.

The 29-year-old, who works as a surveyor in London, will join the Vie Francigine, a historical pilgrimage route that runs from northern Europe to Rome, from the Tuscan city of Lucca on April 26th.

“Following my grandfather’s death a few years ago, my grandmother was keen for me to support the charity,” he added.

“After she passed away last year, I was determined to take up a sizeable physical challenge with a connection to Italy, so as to help, in a small way, to give something back to the Italian people.”

He has previously run marathons and raised nearly £15,000 (€20,669) after running the Stockholm ultra-marathon in 2013.

“I wanted to choose something as difficult as possible this time, not only to push myself to the limit but also so that I could persuade people to be generous in giving to the charity,” he said.

“I am excited and looking forward to it but also naturally a little bit nervous because of the enormity of the challenge.”

Skinner has so far raised £11,000 (€15,158) on Just Giving and is hoping to reach £12,500 (€17,225).

The Monte San Martino Trust awards bursaries for young Italians to study at English-language schools in London and Oxford. 

By Anna Pujol-Mazzini

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?