APTOPIX Italy The Caste

A view of the Montecitorio palace, which hosts the Italian lower house, during the changing of the guard, in Rome Thursday, July 21, 2011. While millions of Italians face tough sacrifices imposed by an austerity package passed last week to stave off a financial crisis, the country’s rulers aren’t quite as prepared to abandon La Dolce Vita. The four-year, ?70 billion package does not entail any significant reduction in the wages, perks and privileges of Italy’s notoriously bloated, handsomely paid political elite, despite repeated promises by officials. In fact, some cuts originally included in the measures were significantly watered down in a last-minute, nighttime meeting of lawmakers. Faced with the popular outrage, politicians of all sides are now promising action, but similar promises in the past have gone unfulfilled. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)