Italy’s ambassador to Australia dies after fall from balcony

Francesca Tardioli, Italy's ambassador to Australia, has died after falling from a balcony at her home in Umbria, the Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday.

The headquarters of Italy's
The headquarters of Italy's "La Farnesina" Foreign Ministry, for which Francesca Tardioli worked. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The news of Tardiolo’s passing was shared by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a tweet published on Sunday morning.

“With infinite sadness, the Foreign Ministry mourns the loss of Francesca Tardiolo, Italian Ambassador to Canberra, and shares in the grief of her loved ones,” the post reads.

“We will remember her with affection for her admirable professional and human qualities: a great diplomat and servant of the state.”

She was 56 at the time of her death, and leaves behind two adult children in their twenties, reports the Corriere della Sera news daily.

Tardioli had been on holiday at her home in Foligno, Umbria following a meeting between Italy’s ambassadors and president Sergio Mattarella, and had been shortly due to return to her post in Canberra, according to Corriere.

The incident took place on Saturday afternoon. Tardioli was reportedly found by a family member who raised the alarm, but it was too late for emergency services to resuscitate her.

Italian authorities are investigating what might have led to the incident, but the most likely hypothesis at this time is accidental death, reports Perugia Today.

Tardioli was born on September 8th, 1965 and began her career as a diplomat in 1991 after graduating in political science from the University of Perugia, according to the news site

Over the course of her career, she served as consul general in Nuremberg and Tripoli, worked in the Italian embassy in Riyadh, and was assigned to the Permanent Representation to NATO in Brussels.

In 2014, she was made an Official Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic, and in 2016 she was appointed to the role of the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General for Political and Security Affairs  and the Central Director for the United Nations and Human Rights.

Since the news of her death broke, condolences have poured in.

The mayor of Foligno, Stefano Zuccarini, said: “Having learned with great regret and deep emotion the tragic news of the death of our illustrious fellow citizen Francesca Tardioli, ambassador of Italy in Australia, I express my heartfelt condolences to the family on behalf of the municipal administration and the entire city of Foligno.”

The Italian embassy in Canberra, which Tardioli led since September 2019, described the diplomat as an “exquisite person, model of professionalism and promoter of human rights”.

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Italy plans to stop ‘revolving door’ between judges and politicians

Italian lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a planned reform aimed at stopping the 'revolving door' between justice and government, as part of wider changes to the country's creaking judicial system.

Italy plans to stop 'revolving door' between judges and politicians

The proposed reform, which still has to be approved by the Italian Senate in the coming weeks, imposes significant limitations on the number of magistrates, prosecutors and judges looking to go into politics – a frequent move in Italy.

Under the submitted changes, a magistrate wishing to stand for election, whether national, regional or local, will not be able to do so in the region where they have worked over the previous three years.

At the end of their mandate, magistrates who have held elective positions will not be able to return to the judiciary – they will be moved to non-jurisdictional posts at, for example, the Court of Auditors or the Supreme Court of Cassation, according to local media reports.

Furthermore, magistrates who have applied for elective positions but have not been successful for at least three years will no longer be able to work in the region where they ran for office. 

The reform is part of a wider programme of changes to Italy’s tortuous judicial system. This is required by the European Commission to unlock billions of euros in the form of post-pandemic recovery funds.

Public perception of the independence of Italian courts and judges is among the worst in Europe, according to the EU’s justice scoreboard.