Roberto Piccoli was born on Maddalena Island - one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean - off the northeast coast of Sardinia. But his origins are elsewhere. His mother was born in Philadelphia, though her family were from Liguria in northwest Italy, and his father is from Treviso in the northeast. When he was still a baby Roberto's family moved to Rome, where he grew up and went to school. After studying political science for two years at the University of Rome, he moved to Treviso, and he has lived and worked there since. He studied philosophy at the University of Venice, receiving his BA in Philosophy in 1975. Roberto is now a school teacher - his subjects Italian Literature and History. He is married to Clara and they have an eight-year-old daughter. He blogs at Wind Rose Hotel.
Why do you blog? > Because it is a unique opportunity to exercise one's right of free expression. Because I can write exactly what I want to write without any sort of interference, and there are people who are interested in what I write and nobody has ever told them that they are obliged to read my posts. It's an experience of freedom - one of the most effective examples of having freedom at your finger tips.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Be yourself. This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson explains why: 'The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it, because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.'
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Among many others: R.W. Emerson, Erasmus, Mazzini, Toqueville, Dante, Shakespeare.
What are you reading at the moment? > Truth and Progress, by Richard Rorty.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Tolstoy's War and Peace.
What is your favourite poem? > Dante's 'Divina Commedia'.
What is your favourite movie? > Rio Bravo, by Howard Hawks.
Who is your favourite composer? > J.S. Bach.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.' (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Who are your political heroes? > Giuliano Amato and Tony Blair. Historically, Alcide De Gasperi, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.' (Niccolò Machiavelli)
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Giuliano Amato.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Terrorism, Islamofascism and the various incarnations of religious and political radicalism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Our best is yet to come, I presume.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > 'Consider your origin; you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.' (Dante Alighieri)
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Loyalty and integrity.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Sophocles gave a very good answer to this question: 'Truly, to tell lies is not honourable / But when the truth entails tremendous ruin / To speak dishonourably is pardonable'.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'We do not inherit the land, we borrow it from our children.' (Native American Proverb)
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Playing chess.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I'm an optimist. As Winston Churchill happened to say: 'It does not seem too much use being anything else'. But how could I, as a father and a teacher, not be worried in some measure about the future of our sons, daughters and pupils?
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > New York City, the United States (at large), London.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Riding.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Walter Matthau; Roberto Benigni.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Muhammad Ali; Dino Zoff.
Which football team do you support? > Tragically, heroically, Inter Milan.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > Being paid... for blogging, or for writing elsewhere what I usually write on my weblog.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Michel de Montaigne, Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.
What animal would you most like to be? > A seagull. I like the way seagulls fly as much as I love some of their typical habitats - such as, for instance, the Cliff of Moher in Ireland and the Côte Sauvage in Brittany. Moreover I love the sea, any time, in any season, in any latitude, as every seagull is supposed to do.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of previous profiles, and the links to them, can be found here.]