Italian gran scoops degree with top marks – aged 87

Anna Valanzuolo Carcaterra proved that age is just a number on Monday when the 87-year-old picked up her degree at a university in Naples.

Italian gran scoops degree with top marks - aged 87
An 87-year-old Italian grandmother graduated in Naples on Monday. Photo: Screengrab/La Stampa

The retired primary school teacher enrolled on a bachelor's degree course in literature at Federico II University in 2011, as she had always regretted not going to university in favour of getting a job and having a family after finishing secondary school.

Despite her age, Carcaterra still had to face the same nerve-wracking ordeal that all Italian students endure before graduating – orally defending her thesis in front of a commission of academics.

Her grandchildren, children and friends were all there to support her as she explained her work on how the writings of medieval post Dante Alighieri influenced the 19th century revolutionary poet Ugo Foscolo. 

Eventually, Carcaterra took her degree – graduating with top marks and honours.

“I hope it's an example to all the youngsters who give up,” she told La Stampa after her success. “If you keep going you will get there in the end.”

Vice Chancellor of Federico II University, Gaetano Manfredi, referred to Carcaterra as “an inspiration to our students” while her professor, Andrea Mazzucchi, said it had been “a strange but gratifying experience” to teach a woman of Carcaetta's age.

“She showed amazing tenacity and passion to get it done,” Mazzucchi added.  

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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?