Italian News Snippets: 06.01.08

by Jessica on June 1, 2008

by | June 1st, 2008  

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Some artists in Milan have produced a collection of needlepoint and fabric vaginas (yes, you read that right) which appear to be wearable art. An added bonus of the original Italian post, besides being just the kind of quirkiness I needed today, is that I now know the Italian word for clitoris. (Nevermind that it probably isn’t really going to come in handy. Ever.)
  • What country do you think of first when you hear the word “kiwi?” You probably said New Zealand, right? Well, some Italians are hoping to change that – they’re switching from growing grapes to growing kiwis.
  • After having his cappuccino tainted with sleeping pills and being robbed, a dazed and confused American tourist walked in front of a train and was killed. A suspect has been arrested.
  • Milan’s La Scala opera house has commissioned an opera based on Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenint Truth.” No, I’m not kidding.
  • There are a couple Italian priests in the news lately, and for reasons that probably don’t make the Catholic church very happy. One has been convicted of sexually abusing a handicapped member of his congregation (who was a minor at the time), and another is leaving the priesthood to be with his girlfriend, who is pregnant with his child.
  • I can’t decide whether this is surprising or not, but Italy leads the EU in bank robberies.
  • Although smoking in manhy public places throughout Italy is being heavily restricted or banned, a new report says that chain smoking in Italy is actually increasing.
  • Italy’s national soccer team is in its training camp for the upcoming Euro 2008 championships, but all work and no play makes for… Well, it makes for a serious lack of interesting news tidbits. Thankfully, we don’t have that problem. My favorite so far is the story of the two models who ran onto the practice pitch last week, stripping down to their skivvies before being hauled off by security. The photos at the Italy Euro 2008 blog are great – the guys look like they’re just standing back and checking out some kind of half-time show. Which, I suppose, they were.
  • An Italian politician has called for the overturning of a law which outlawed brothels, thereby allowing for the re-establishment of legal brothels in Italy. Notably, the politician in question is a woman – and a member of the right-wing. On the other side of things, the Italian government’s undersecretary for the family criticized the brothel idea, suggesting an effort to “name and shame” the johns as a means to combat prostitution.
  • The NY Times had a brief article extolling the virtues of taking public transit in Europe to help save money on your trip. Rome is included on the list of cities highlighted, and (as I mentioned in my Rome transportation post) although the Rome Metro isn’t exactly the best subway system in the world, it will get you to at least some of Rome’s major sights. The NY Times article also mentions an interesting day trip you can take using the Rome Metro – to the EUR district Mussolini planned, to see all the Fascist architecture.
  • Ever wonder what the second world is in Spoleto’s Festival of Two Worlds? Well, it’s Charleston, South Carolina – and the U.S. half of the famous festival kicked off last week, after a 15-year hiatus.
  • One of Berlusconi’s campaign pledges was to finally build a bridge from the Italian mainland to Sicily. He now says it’s an “urgent priority,” and an Italian official says the bridge will open in 2016.
  • Italy is one of several European countries where the idea of going back to nuclear power is becoming more and more palatable as other fuel prices rise steeply.
  • Police say they’ve arrested a prominent member of the Calabrian mafia.
  • Italy has a reputation for being relatively xenophobic, and one of the men behind the right wing party’s recent surge to power makes the idea of xenophobia seem warm and cuddly.
  • It could just be that I’m a cynic and a skeptic, but even the recent praise of Berlusconi (even from those on the centre-left) doesn’t make me think this guy isn’t going to screw something up.
  • I hesitate to promote the Olive Garden as anything remotely close to real Italian cooking, but anyone who’s giving away a free trip to Italy gets my attention. Even the Olive Garden. Enter on their website to win an 8-day trip for two to Rome, Florence, and the Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany.
  • Wow, the temperatures in Rome have hit the 90s – in May! And we all thought last summer was sweltering.
  • If you think the gas prices are high in the U.S. right now, don’t rent a car in Italy – the gas prices in Europe have long been higher than in the U.S., and now they’re astronomical.
  • The Italian soccer schedule for 2008-2009 has just been released, so if you’re planning a trip to Italy in the next 12 months and you want to see an Italian soccer game, make sure your visit is between August 31, 2008 and May 31, 2009.
  • azzurriThe Azzurri squad is now set for Euro 2008, and they took their official team photos. They look just as good to me in their suits as they do in their team kit, but I might be biased.
  • The LA Times’ writer in Rome posted a note about part of her process to get a permit to stay in Rome legally. I’m making mental notes of what to expect for myself.
  • A recent lesson for married Italian women from the Italian courts could be that if you’re going to take a lover, just make sure you don’t use the same bed you share with your husband, or you’ll kiss your share of the marital assets goodbye. Amazing – it’s not that she cheated, it’s that she did it in their shared bed…
  • Here’s an interesting article about a company that helps deaf travelers get the most out of their trips to Italy.
  • Wow, when you bring your team to a third straight Italian soccer championship and you still get the boot, that’s pretty bad. (But as an A.C. Milan fan myself, I’m kind of hoping that any change in the coaching staff at Inter will spell disaster for the team next year. Not likely, but a girl can dream.)
  • The Italian government is being lobbied to create a law against gay hate crimes in Italy.
  • It’s barely June and we’re already hearing about the drought in southern Italy. That’s not a good sign for the summer.
  • The Po River has flooded in northwest Italy, and at least three people have died as a result of the heavy rainfall.

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