Marino de Medici, an Italian writer who covered American politics from Washington for more than 25 years, rose to the position of dean of the foreign press corps and was known for his keen insight, passed away on November 15 at his home in Winchester, Virginia. He was 89.
According to his wife Nicki Furlan de Medici, cancer was the cause of his death.
The Fulbright Scholarship program, which was supported by US Senator J. William Fulbright (D-Ark.) following World War II to advance international understanding, brought Mr. de Medici to the United States in 1954 as a university student.
Mr. de Medici worked for practically his entire career as the Washington-based foreign correspondent for Il Tempo, a center-right newspaper with its headquarters in Rome, translating American life for Italian readers. He discussed the accomplishments of the American democratic heritage as well as its shortcomings for presidents ranging from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.
“The role of a foreign correspondent,” Mr. de Medici told the National Journal in 1985, “is not just to report the bare news, but to clarify, analyze and explain what is going on in the US and what it means and meaning to interpret his country and the rest of the world. He becomes a player in a sophisticated game and influences politics.”
Foreign press corps
The New York Times noted that by the time of his retirement, Mr. de Medici had covered Washington for more years than any other member of the city’s foreign press corps, which at the time included 500 accredited journalists from 60 different countries.
He covered the civil rights movement, went to Southeast Asia to cover the Vietnam War, and wrote about the Watergate scandal for Italian readers who were more accustomed to political instability than Americans.
As revelations of the scandal pushed President Richard M. Nixon to resign, “I found it difficult to explain to the Italians,” Mr. de Medici told the Times, “that taking over the White House was not a political maneuver, but a moral.”, constitutional and judicial matters where the final outcome was dictated not by politics but by the full force of law.”
Mr. de Medici occasionally diverted from his job in Washington to cover international events, such as revolutions in Latin America. He spent years living in the US capital and working as a cable reporter out of the National Press Building, yet he appeared happiest there.
One advantage of being a foreign correspondent was the distance to your own editor. “If you’re lazy,” he joked, “you could just rewrite the Washington Post and no one would notice.” But Mr. de Medici took pride in his role not only as a writer but also as an analyst of democracy.
“I love American politics — the interaction of politics with public opinion,” he told the Times. “Ultimately, public opinion decides, and that is typically American.”
Marino De Medici’s early life and family.
On May 16, 1933, Marino Romano Pietro Lorenzo Celso de Medici was born in Rome. Although he supposedly once handled the sale of a property in the United States by posing as a Medici prince, he insisted that he had no relation to the Florentine family with which he shared a name.
His mother worked as a housewife, and Mr. de Medici’s father served as a corporal in the Italian Navy. Mr. de Medici spent a brief period of time during World War II living in Rome with his aunt and uncle before escaping the poverty of the capital and moving in with his parents in the Romagna region, not far from the German defensive fortifications known as the Gothic Line.
Marino De Medici’s married life.
Marianne Bengtson and Mr. de Medici divorced each other.
His 38-year-old former wife, Nicki Furlan, and their two daughters, Laura and Marina de Medici, both of Winchester, survive him along with three grandchildren.