Italy News: 03.01.09

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • How fabulous is this? You can adopt your own olive tree in Italy, and not only get updates (and photos) on how the tree is doing, but get some of the olive oil it produces as well!
  • A couple of weeks ago, a coworker sent me a link to a new advertising campaign for Dolce & Gabbana – the same folks who, in 2006, put their underwear on some of the hottest Italian soccer players who’d just won the World Cup. This time, D&G has outfitted a few members of Italy’s rugby team in their undies. And for this ad shoot, there aren’t just photos. There’s video. (I hope you’ll forgive me for not bringing this to your attention sooner. I think you’ll understand why I got distracted when you look at the video.)
  • It’s just about time for Turin’s chocolate festival this year – if you’re anywhere near the Piedmont city, I highly recommend a visit. CioccolaTÒ runs from March 6-15, 2009.
  • 26 Italian pasta makers have been fined €12.5 million by the antitrust authority in Italy for “operating a cartel.”


  • If you’re trying to learn the Italian language, you could do yourself a huge favor by paying close attention to this list of “false friends” – words you think are going to be one thing, because they look like English words, but turn out to be very different.
  • Say it ain’t so, Venice! First the giant billboards around St. Mark’s Square, and now Coke machines to be installed around the city?!?
  • I hadn’t heard of the annual Ice Music Festival in northern Italy until I saw this amazing picture of a Norwegian musician playing an ice trumpet. Wow.
  • If you needed another reason to visit Calabria at the toe of Italy’s boot, then this tourism campaign – led by none other than Calabrian Gennaro Gattuso (who plays for my beloved AC Milan) – should just about seal the deal. That is, if you fancy the sexy Italian footballers angle. Which I do.
  • One art historian thinks he’s found a Renaissance-era portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in the private collection of a Basilicata family.
  • The scribbled designs of Leonardo da Vinci have been put into practice and the things da Vinci designed have come to life for many years – but this time, it’s another Renaissance mastermind whose toys are being rebuilt. Galileo’s original telescope has been recreated by a group in Florence, using glass from Murano.
  • The Venice Biennale art exhibition is coming up later this year, and this year’s recipient of the Golden Lion Award – a lifetime achievement award of sorts – will be Yoko Ono.
  • Venice’s famous Harry’s Bar has just signed an agreement with its staff that will avoid layoffs and hopefully bring in more income for everyone.
  • Evidently the Michelangelo that’s most often portrayed on TV is “too boring” for the Vatican.
  • International Women’s Day, called La Festa della Donna in Italy, is coming right up – don’t forget to buy the women in your life some yellow mimosas! (And if you can’t find the flower where you are, something tells me most women would be pleased with the champagne-and-orange-juice cocktail of the same name. I know I would.)
  • An art exhibit honoring Giotto will open in Rome on March 6th at the Vittoriano, and it runs until the end of June.