Italy News: 01.25.09

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Okay, so I get that the owl this elderly couple had as a pet is a protected species and shouldn’t have become a pet in the first place, but after they nurtured it from a wounded fledgling 14 years ago the Italian authorities decided that now is the right time to take it away?!?
  • Italian officials are pleased to report that since new “anti-hooligan” laws were put into place, the crowds at Italian soccer matches have increased – while dangerous and illegal behavior has diminished sharply. (At least according to the statistics they’re publicizing.)
  • If you needed an excuse to actually buy something from TravelSmith, then here’s a good one – every time you make a TravelSmith purchase between now and March 16, 2009, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win an Italian vacation that includes round-trip airfare for two, private accommodation at the villa of your choice (courtesy of Parker Villas), a rental car, and TravelSmith clothing and gear. You can read more and enter here.
  • You can always count on drug smugglers to be creative. In Italy, a group was arrested after customs police discovered cocaine hidden in packages of meat.
  • I’m all for finding good deals in places that serve great food – especially in a town like Venice that’s already sucking my wallet dry – so I’m eager to go back and visit all of these recommended places to eat on a budget in Venice.
  • Italy has long had problems with illegal immigration, but now the UN has expressed concern over how illegal immigrants are being held in the country before being deported or allowed to stay.
  • Italy’s interior minister has issued an order saying that protestors aren’t allowed to gather outside churches. This follows mass Muslim prayer vigils held outside Catholic churches in Milan, Bologna, and Rome earlier in the month (there are photos of the protests here).
  • I was surprised to read this article from Blog from Italy, which lists the top 3 wine exporting regions of Italy. Tuscany, famous for its Chianti, only comes in at #3. Can you guess what #1 is?
  • The carved wooden Christ on the cross which was only recently attributed to a young Michelangelo will be making a few stops in Italian museums this year, so if you’ll be in Trapani, Palermo or Milan at the right time you’ll get a chance to see it.
  • In an attempt to help visitors to Venice book their trips when the crowds aren’t at their worst, a new website (set to debut on February 1) will show people which days are least (and most) crowded – and they’ll also get a discount for booking their trip in advance.
  • Want a cheap souvenir to remember your next Italian vacation? Save those Campari bottlecaps and turn them into magnets!