Italy News: 04.05.09


Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • I think getting lost in Venice is the best way to spend your time in the city, but this Venetian version of England’s “Mass Trespass,” where locals walk a route over 45 of the city’s bridges, sounds like an excellent parade for visitors to join.
  • An Italian wine maker is offering a free bottle of wine to designated drivers – for them to take home and enjoy later. It just so happens to be a bottle of wine that I know and love, so I’d be more than happy to be the designated driver and take home my free bottle of Allegrini – except I’d rather not drive in Italy. Ever.
  • According to a new study, cheating goes on in 50% of couples in Italy – and 7% of the time, the cheating is with someone of the same sex.
  • Next year the Dead Sea Scrolls are set to make their Italian debut in a special exhibit in Rome, as a gesture of thanks to the Italian experts who are helping restore the 2,000-year-old papers in Israel right now.
  • Want an insider’s guide to eating out in Rome without getting ripped off? Then you need the Black Sheep guide. Seriously, this sounds like a must-have book before my next trip to the Eternal City.
  • A German researcher has discovered the longest underground acquduct on earth – carved by Ancient Romans in the 1st century, and stretching for more than 100km.
  • Just because you’re a descendent of Italian royalty and budding politician doesn’t mean you can’t shake your groove thang on national TV, does it?
  • If you, like me, dream of one day living in Italy, then you’ll either love reading about how one couple did it or you’ll be insanely jealous of them. Or both.
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  • Although David Beckham tops this poll for the celebrity most people would like to find themselves next to on an airplane, I’d only vote for him if he’d promise to introduce me to all those hot Italian soccer players he shares the pitch with these days.
  • Not being an athlete myself, the Italian game of bocce may be the only one I’m any good at (and I get better with a glass of wine – or maybe I just care less at that point, I can’t tell). But the women participating in the Women’s World Bocce Championship in Italy look like they’re serious about it. Which I never am. Especially after the aforementioned wine.
  • The Italian news wasn’t spared the multitude of April Fool’s jokes that were out on Wednesday. My favorites were from Blog From Italy, which introduced us to a new pasta honoring Berlusconi called “Silvioli,” and from Italian Notebook, which announced that the dome on St. Peter’s Basilica had finally been removed for cleaning and repair work. Well done, gang! Read about how Italians celebrate April Fool’s Day, too.
  • As someone of Jewish descent, I’m particularly interested in Jewish historic sites when I travel – so I’m bookmarking this post about Jewish sites in Rome for my next visit.
  • And speaking of Jewish sites, if you happen to be in Italy this week and you’re looking for a seder, you can find seders in 600 cities around the world online – including in several cities in Italy.
  • Tourist numbers are down in Italy by enough that it’s prompted the country’s tourism department to spend roughly $13 million on a new ad campaign to try to get foreigners to come for a visit.
  • Silvio Berlusconi, not really known for having an environmental side, is encouraging Italy’s citizens to add onto their homes or otherwise spruce them up – by hiring Italian contractors, of course – in an effort to revitalize the economy. Conservationists are understanably concerned.
  • In this widely-circulated video, the Queen of England asks the very legitimate question about Berlusconi: “Why does he have to shout?” To that I say: If that’s the worst thing about him, then we’re in good shape. Unfortunately, it’s not. And we’re not.
  • I’d like to thank the young Brazilian star on my beloved AC Milan squad, Pato, for telling everyone (via this video tour of his Milan home) that his neighbors include the likes of My Boyfriend, Andrea Pirlo. This, as you can imagine, makes it much easier for me to stalk locate him. Y’know, to send him positive vibes for an upcoming match. That’s all. Really.
  • Is there really an Olive Garden Culinary Institute in Tuscany? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • These gladiators are historical re-enactors in Rome, not the typical pushy guys outside the Colosseum trying to get you to pay for a photo. And what these guys do is called “experimental archaeology” – not entirely sure what it means, but it sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
  • How much do I love the Venice Daily Photo blog? Oh, so very much.
  • Belgium is lodging a formal complaint against the Vatican after the Pope’s recent comments during a trip to Africa wherein he said people should not use condoms to help prevent the spread of AIDS. The Vatican is surprised by the formal complaint. Funny, the world was surprised by the Pope’s comments.
  • You want an excuse to ooh and aww over a cute baby animal? Then check out the picture of this baby hippo from Switzerland that’s been offered a home in an Abruzzo zoo after the hippo’s home zoo in Basel said the little guy would be euthanized and fed to the tigers. Yes, really. Hooray Abruzzo zoo!
  • An elementary school teacher in Italy talked about bondage and genital piercing during a sex ed class, and she’s understandably now in a bit of trouble. But my favorite part was that the school’s headmaster said that the teacher should know material like that may be okay for 15-year-olds but not 11-year-olds. Yeah, because no parents of a 15-year-old would be up in arms if a teacher talked about bondage and genital piercing.
  • Two earthquakes struck L’Aquila last week, measuring 4.0 and 3.5.
  • The city of Venice has a fundraising effort going on right now with the proceeds going toward restoring several historic monuments in the city, including the Rialto Bridge. You can donate via SMS or online, and the campaign will feature some concerts – including one by Simple Minds in St. Mark’s in July.
  • Italy’s beaches are beautiful, but there’s more to the coastline than just sunbathing. Here’s a post about diving off the coast of the island of Elba in Tuscany.