Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:
- The recent flooding in Venice caused the city’s mayor to urge people to stay indoors – but many Venetians seem to think this is all in a day’s work when you live in a city built on water.
- Of course, the Venice floods also apparently served as an invitation for promotional stunts – like the one where a Dutch wakeboarder (sponsored by Red Bull) surfed his way across St. Mark’s Square.
- Hotels in Venice are luring tourists back to the city despite the floods with cut rates and a free pair of fisherman’s boots as part of the package.
- A group of lap dancers and prostitutes in Italy were able to spot the fake bills among the 20s and 100s that they were being paid, thereby exposing a ring of counterfeiters. Yes, really.
- It’s time again for the presepi markets in Naples that always spring up before Christmas in Italy, but unfortunately this year part of the Naples market was the scene of a protest when police tried to get rid of some “unauthorized stalls” and all presepi sellers closed up shop in solidarity. Don’t worry, though, the controversy is over and the markets are open once again.
- And speaking of Christmas, if you’re going to spending the holiday in Italy, why not try out some of the country’s special culinary treats of the season?
- The mob killings in Italy continue, despite the deployment of thousands of additional soldiers throughout the country specifically tasked with helping to fight organized crime.
- There’s more than one “David” in Florence, and I don’t just mean the countless copies of Michelangelo’s masterpiece you’ll find all over the city. Donatello’s “David” actually predates Michelangelo’s, and after an extensive restoration you can see it once again at the Bargello in Florence.
- Italy just doesn’t seem comfortable with the whole blogging thing. The story about Italian courts declaring the internet illegal has come up again.
- The famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which rarely leave their home in Israel, will be on display in Rome in early 2009. An exact date for the opening of the exhibit is not yet known, but if your travel plans will take you to Rome in the early part of the year you should definitely be on the lookout.
- Are you on Twitter? If so, are you following WhyGo Italy on Twitter? At least one travel blogger thinks I’m one of the top 50 travel Twitterers you should be following!
- Florence is a year-round tourist destination, but if you’re looking for an alternative to the usual tourist haunts you could do worse than to approach the city from a literary point of view with this literary guide to Florence.
- I’ve recently found the Rome Photo Blog, which I’m really enjoying so far – and it’s not all pretty pictures to ooh and ahh over, either, it’s also thought-provoking.
- Two men were arrested outside Milan this week who were suspected of plotting terrorist attacks.
- Ticket holders for the season opener at La Scala in Milan can breathe a sigh of relief, as the opening night gala was saved this past week with last-minute negotiations between the musicians and singers at La Scala, who had been on strike since July.
- The trial of the 26 American CIA agents who were accused of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric in Italy in 2003 has been suspended by the presiding judge.
- One of Italy’s top ski resorts has officially opened for the season.
- The Alitalia deal seems to have crawled one step closer to becoming final.
- Seriously, people, just because your sat nav says to turn your car down a series of staircases doesn’t mean you actually have to do it…
- First it was the cats of the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome – now the bats of Rome are getting their own rescue center.
- Venice continues its campaign against anything that doesn’t live up to its standards of “decorum” – from sitting down in St. Mark’s Square, to munching on picnic lunches in public, to now getting rid of “tacky” vendor stalls.
- If you happen to be listening to the radio in Sicily, keep your ears peeled for Rosina Costina’s regular show – she’s a 90-year-old grandmother whose weekly program covers mainly traditional recipes.
- A new report says that agriturismos in Italy are still doing brisk business despite the sagging economy – which says to me that budget travelers are still going to Italy, and traveling smarter. Well done, you!
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