Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:
- There are a few Halloween-related articles regarding Italy, because although it’s not an Italian holiday it’s quickly being adopted by people in the country who think they can make a euro or two from it. So although the Vatican says Halloween is dangerous, and other religious and school groups are trying to prevent Halloween celebrations, there are some American elements of the holiday which are creeping (pun intended) into Italy now, too. [Late update: James talks about Halloween in his corner of Tuscany, and Cherrye talks about Halloween in Calabria as well.]
- Attention, all of you who’ve been riding the buses in Rome without buying or validating a ticket all these years – looks like they’re going to run a year-long experiment to have ticket conductors on Rome’s buses.
- Even if you’ve never been to the Monti neighborhood in Rome, or to Rome at all, do yourself a favor and read this article about how important each member of a community is in a tight-knit Italian neighborhood. It’s a delightful portrait of a community, and I teared up as I read it – despite never having seen the man at the heart of the article.
- Utterly hilarious. A man in Sicily who was granted house arrest after a stint in prison is now begging to be taken back to prison. Why? His wife is driving him nuts, he says.
- Facebook has opened its first ad sales office in Italy, and they’re hiring.
- Lest you thought sex scandals in Italy were limited to just Silvio Berlusconi, a politician in one of the country’s center-left parties has been caught on video “in the company of a transsexual in a Rome apartment.”
- I might have missed World Pasta Day last weekend, but I think I eat enough pasta year-round to more than make up for it. You?
- Food-shopping in Italy just got a little more interesting. A new food label, “Libera Terra,” tells you the food you’re buying comes “from lands freed from the Mafia,” or, as the headline says, it indicates the foods are “Mafia-free.”
- The Italian health ministry says Italy might have the highest rate of H1N1 infections in Europe.
- Alert customs officials in New York stopped two 2,000+ year-old Italian artifacts from going on their merry (illegal) way.
- Berlusconi is scheduled to go back on trial in November for tax fraud.
- I’d heard about this Romanian kid living in Italy who’s made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being a muscle-bound five-year-old, but I actually think the title of this story is more amusing than the story itself: “Italy Is Training an Army of Terrifying Muscle-Child Mercenaries.” Ha!
- The story about the Vatican opening the door to Anglicans was big news when it came out. Being neither Catholic nor Anglican, I’m not sure what to make of it all.
- An ancient Roman site near the Colosseum is now visible to the public – it’s the remains of Nero’s “banqueting hall,” and you can see it from a newly-opened viewing platform on the Palatine Hill.
- The verdict is in for the 2009 wine harvest in Italy, and it’s a pretty good one if you like Italian wine – “excellent quality but a fall in quantity and prices.”
- Winter visitors to Rome can fit in a little skiing in the area, if want.
- The area around the Duomo in Florence is now entirely pedestrian-only.
- Foodie and Rome resident Katie Parla offers some tips on eating well without spending a fortune in Florence.
- There’s a book I’ve seen people mentioning lately called “100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go,” and I have to say I’ve got mixed feelings about it. Why are there places women should go in Italy that men shouldn’t? Or, if both sexes should go, why is it necessary to write about them separately for women? Is there an equivalent book for men? Or is it somehow assumed all other travel guides are male-focused? Anyway, although I’m personally not interested in a book that divides travelers by gender in a country that doesn’t have gender-splitting issues (like might be more common in the Middle East, for instance), if you are interested you can read more about it here.
- Without consulting CONI, Italy’s Olympic Committee, Rome and Venice both said they wanted to host the 2020 games. Then Palermo and Bari threw their hats into the ring, too, also without consulting CONI. I find the whole thing amusing, and it’s triply so when I think about how absolutely ludicrous it is that Venice wants to host the Olympics. This is the city that wants to limit daytrippers? But they want to bring in the Olympics? They’re out of their gourds.
- Police in Naples have released a series of stills from CCTV footage of a murder in order to try to get someone to come forward and name the killer. His face is visible in the footage, but he hasn’t been identified yet – despite the fact that the murder took place back in May. The release of the footage has outraged politicians, although whether it’s because bystanders do nothing as a man is shot at point-blank range in front of them or because the pictures are gruesome I don’t know. (And I’ll caution you that there are photos from the CCTV footage in the story linked here, so don’t click through if you don’t want to see pictures of a man getting shot to death.)
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