Italian News Snippets: 09.02.07


Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • The coach of Catania’s soccer team might have been trying to teach his players how to kick arse, but he did it a bit too literally when he planted his foot in an opposing coach’s backside. Oops. He’s been banned for a month for the gesture.
  • A Catholic priest has said he’s in love with a woman who is separated from her husband and who has children; he’d like the two to become engaged, although he claims the relationship has been and will continue to be platonic so that he can remain a priest.
  • We already know the Vatican isn’t crazy about the idea of same-sex marriage, but what about same-sex marriage of two Mafia bosses who are both in prison? Methinks that’s going to raise more than a few red flags.
  • On the bright side, the Italian government has said that the Mafia isn’t to blame for the fire crisis sweeping southern Italy.
  • As Venice’s new bridge takes shape over the lagoon city, an Old English ship which sank more than 150 years ago has been pulled from the water.
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  • If you’re in Italy on September 13th, don’t be surprised to see more than a few people going without pasta – it’s a nation-wide “Spaghetti Strike” to protest the rising cost of pasta and other grain-based products.
  • In addition to the fires plaguing southern Italy (not to mention parts of Greece), there have been other freak weather happenings lately – including a twister over water in Tuscany and another tornado in Bergamo.
  • Italy’s wine production for this year is predicted to be one of the lowest levels in the last half-century.
  • It’s not just southern European people who are dealing with high temperatures – Umbrian frogs are having trouble with the heat, too.
  • Rome’s trendy Trastevere neighborhood is going to be seeing a lot more police patrolling its streets as officials attempt to crack down on street crime in the area.
  • The city of Florence is cracking down on the apparent scourge of of squeegee-wielding window washers who hang out at stoplights and have, in some cases, become aggressive with drivers who do not want to pay for the un-asked-for “service.”
  • National Geographic’s article about the escape plans which exist in case Mt. Vesuvius blows its top again sparked a bit of panic in the Naples area, where residents feared the volcano was about to go.
  • The north-south divide in Italy has been strong for many years, and continues to be palpable – new reports say that 40% of all graduates from schools in the south move north for work.
  • Researchers now say that the 5,000-year-old iceman found in the Italian Alps died from head trauma, not from an arrow wound.
  • One of the first expat bloggers whose blog I started reading has just started her own tour company in the Emilia-Romagna region. The tour looks lovely, and just from reading Cynthia’s blog entries for the last six months I can say that she’s not only got an affinity for her adopted home but an appreciation for what it’s like to be a tourist there, too. Good luck, Cynthia!