Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:
- These days, if you’re having trouble in the waters off Italian beaches, it may not be a human who comes to your rescue. Italy just certified 300 dog lifeguards.
- Berlusconi’s government has legalized the formation of citizen patrols in Italy, which has some Italians concerned about vigilante justice.
- Okay, I completely love this idea and am miffed I didn’t know about it when I was in Naples in June – you can hire ex-cons to act as your Naples tour guides. It’s a pilot program, but I hope it’s successful so it’ll still be operating when I go back.
- The birthplace of the Roman emperor Vespasian, responsible for commissioning the building of the famous Colosseum, has reportedly been found by archaeologists outside the Italian capital.
- In sports, there are often “friendly” matches that don’t count toward any rankings and aren’t involved in any tournaments. But that doesn’t mean there’s any less emotion involved. A basketball game between Canada & Italy is a case in point – it ended in a “bench-clearing brawl” not long ago. There’s a video here.
- Please, when you visit another city, do not act like an ass – like this American student with the megaphone at 2:40am in Rome.
- Julia Roberts is in Italy working on the film version of the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” set to come out in 2011.
- The jackpot in the Italian lottery is now over €131 million – making it one of the top conversations topics in Italy, and leading Germans to fly south to Italy in droves just to buy lottery tickets.
- A 90-year-old former Nazi officer has been found guilty in a trial regarding a massacre in Italy during World War II.
- The Somali pirates who released the Italian tugboat and crew they had captured four months ago claim Italy’s government paid them $4 million in ransom – which Italy denies.
- Yesterday, August 15, was Ferragosto – one of Italy’s biggest annual holidays. A movie about the holiday came out last year, called “Pranzo di Ferragosto,” or “Ferragosto Lunch.”
- You’ve probably heard that tourism in Italy is down this year, and to make matters worse the country is dealing with some unflattering press (some of it well-deserved). Tourism officials in Italy are trying to fight the bad press, but there’s no telling whether their efforts will pay off before the end of this year.
- One of the people who remains homeless after the April earthquake in L’Aquila has asked to take up residence in one of Prime Minister Berlusconi’s many properties.
- I’ve occasionally been annoyed with my mobile phone, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to enter the newest sport in Italy – “mobile phone launch” – where participants compete to see who can throw their mobiles the furthest.
- Going to be in Venice anytime soon? Here’s a summer concert schedule (performances run through September) that might interest you.
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