Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi and Jack Ma do not have much in common. The 77-year-old Italian politician is at the end of his leadership path; at 49, the Chinese founder of ecommerce group Alibaba may be barely halfway along it.

Andrew Hill

When I worked in Milan in the mid-1990s, it was a standing joke that young Italians would not quit the family home: it was just too comfortable being cosseted by mamma and papà. Now this stereotype has solidified – young Italians feel unable to leave, even if they want to – and this could have serious implications for how the financial and economic crisis there plays out.