Italy News: 02.01.09

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post, as there’s a video of the Venice flooding from December of last year!

  • Will David Beckham be staying in Italy after all? His AC Milan managers say they’re interested in signing him permanently. (Incidentally, the person who posted this article on Sky Sports must hate Becks, or they wouldn’t have used the picture they did. Ouch.) There’s more about the potential deal here and here.
  • And as if the potential of having one former Spice Girl in Italy wasn’t enough, Geri Halliwell – AKA Ginger Spice – is now engaged to her Italian boyfriend, Fabrizio Politi.
  • I found this collection of photos on Flickr last week from the Notre Dame Architecture Library, and wanted to share them – they’re images made from “pre-World War I lantern slides,” and they’re really quite stunning. What I find particularly ineresting about them is that in many cases, the places in the pictures look the same today as they did when the slides were made.
  • We should all know by now that Italy’s PM Silvio Berlusconi has a way with words. Namely, a way with allowing words to come out of his mouth (when microphones are around, no less) that should never come out of anyone’s mouth. Ever. His latest comment was in relation to the government’s commitment to put more troops on the streets in Rome after a series of violent rapes, but what he actually said was this: “We could not field a big enough force to avoid this risk [of rape]. We would need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful.” So, umm, it’s a woman’s fault she’s a target for rape because she’s pretty? And there’s no way Italy can be made entirely safe for pretty women? Oh, if only Berlusca would just cease to open his botox’ed mouth for the rest of eternity…
  • If you’ve been to Italy recently and thought there weren’t as many American tourists as you’d expected, you weren’t imagining things. American tourism numbers in Italy are way down this year.
  • Visiting Naples with the family anytime soon? Here are a few tips on what to do in the southern Italian capital with the kiddos.
  • Pope lollipops? Really? Oh, yes – really. I’d say something like “Suck on that, Pope-y,” but that might get me barred from heaven. On second thought, I’m probably already barred from heaven, so what the hell.
  • I completely suck at this game, but I love it anyway – it’s an interactive Italian songs game where you’re supposed to type in the lyrics when the music stops. The site is all about the upcoming Sanremo Song Festival, which begins on February 17 this year.
  • Speaking of Sanremo, there are always foreign musical stars who make appearances during the festival – and this year’s slate of foreign stars is quite something – it starts with U2’s singer, Bono, who has asked a bunch of his friends to join him to help promote his One charity.
  • U.S. researchers say they’ve finally figured out what makes Stradivari violins sound so incredible.
  • For any of you Italian language-learners out there, Cherrye has a few tips on Italian words that sound similar but have very different meanings.

I know we’ve all seen videos of the high water in Venice from last December, but I hadn’t seen this video before. It’s from the Living Venice blog. Nan, who writes the blog, says “As extreme as it was, within about three hours after the video was shot, the tide had receded — leaving a big, big mess.”