Italy News: 05.10.09

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Seems there’s no shortage of stories about people returning to the Italian towns their ancestors left, only to be welcomed back with open arms by the remaining family. But no matter how many of them I read, they get me every time. This one is especially well-written, and I ended up wiping away tears not even halfway through it. Lovely, lovely story.
  • Holy cats! Last week I suggested that PM Silvio Berlusconi’s long-suffering wife Veronica Lario should stop complaining about him in the press – “deal with it or divorce him,” I said. Perhaps Ms. Lario was listening, because on Sunday she announced she’s filed for divorce.
  • Even the Catholic church thinks Berlusconi should tame his affections for young women.
  • Oh, but it gets better. Seems Berlusconi’s not taking things lying down. He has now demanded a public apology from Lario.
  • Although I’m never terribly interested in cooking, I do like watching cooking shows. I especially like episodes over at Under the Tuscan Gun, because the banter between Gabriele & Debi is usually as entertaining as the recipes are yummy-looking. The pasta sauce in this episode, however, looks so easy even I might try it. A pasta sauce that involves no cooking whatsoever and can be accomplished before the pasta water even boils? That’s right up my alley.
  • Italy’s big cycling race, the Giro d’Italia, started yesterday in Venice – and if you’re looking for me over the next few weeks, I’ll be glued to race coverage every morning. But what I really wish is that I’d been able to see the team presentation last week in Piazza San Marco. No, wait – what I really wish is that I could have squeezed into the gondola ride with four of the Giro’s big names (including my personal favorite, Italian Ivan Basso). There are excellent photos of the team presentation (and that gondola ride) on Cycling Fans, Steephill, and CyclingNews.
  • Tourism in Italy might be dropping, but it’s still the #1 international destination with U.S. travelers, according to the latest figures from the American Society of Travel Agents. Not only that, three Italian cities made the top 10 list of international destinations for summer travel this year.


  • An American art student in Florence was brought to the police station for questioning over the murder of an Italian man.
  • After 25 years of having a fragment from the Colosseum sitting on her shelf, a woman in North Carolina had finally had enough of the guilt over taking it in the first place that she mailed it back to Rome.
  • Over the weekend, Italy confirmed its first case of swine flu, and then confirmed two more on Monday. As of this writing, the number of cases of swine flu in Italy is up to 8. Blog from Italy has updated the swine flu in Italy situation again on his blog.
  • Jessica from the Rome Photo Blog recently told me about this new-to-me website, In Rome Now. It’s updated weekly, and has information about what’s going on in Rome that week. Want another reason to love it? It’s in English.
  • Can you imagine the Swiss Guards around the Vatican having women among their ranks? The new commander thinks that’s a possibility.
  • The Vatican Museums will be donating all their admission fees collected today, Sunday the 10th of May, to the victims of the Abruzzo earthquake. In addition, museum staff and guards are donating their salaries for the day.
  • The “talking statues” in Rome are getting a much-needed facelift, but I seriously doubt they’ll be able to keep people from pasting notes on them again once they’re clean.
  • More than 200 people who had attempted to enter Italy illegally have been sent to Libya. The migrants’ boat had been intercepted at sea, and they were put on coast guard and border patrol boats without having set foot on Italian soil. The move went against a UN refugee agency, but Italian officials say it was a “major victory” in their fight against illegal immigration.
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  • Luxury villa rental company Parker Villas is trying to lure travelers to Italy by offering free summer weekends on certain properties. You can see the list here.
  • Some new pesticides have been banned in northern Italy, which thankfully means the area’s bee population is starting to make a comeback.
  • Italy’s full of bridges, and Italy Beyond the Obvious has listed the best bridges in the north.
  • Cherrye of My Bella Vita recently took a trip to Rome, and she’s been featuring the Eternal City all week on her blog. One of the posts I wanted to make sure to share with you was her great tips on staying safe and not getting robbed while in Rome – it’s not that Rome is particularly unsafe, but it’s a big city and it’s always good to be aware.
  • I love this shot of Italian government guards walking to work
  • One of the Grand Canal bridges in Venice is technically temporary, although it’s been there for 75 years. Word is that the city council may actually be looking to replace the Accademia Bridge with a more permanent version sometime soon.

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