Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:
This isn’t Italy-related, but it is an effort worth mentioning, and it’s run by two expats in Italy who are friends of mine – it’s the 2nd annual O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Post a recipe to your blog featuring an ingredient that begins or ends with the letter O, and your recipe could win one of three lovely Italian cookbooks. Find out more at Bleeding Espresso or Ms. Adventures in Italy, and get cooking!
- Speaking of Ms. Adventures in Italy, it was Sara who joined me on a recent day-trip to the Parma region for a prosciutto festival. She’s much better about getting her field-trip photos up in a timely fashion than I am, so I’ll direct you to her latest post about the start of the prosciutto-making process, complete with gorgeous photos as always. (Well, they’re gorgeous if you’re not a vegetarian, I suppose.)
- Italy’s PM Silvio Berlusconi pushed a law through the country’s parliament last year to give the four top government positions in the country (including him as the Prime Minister) immunity from lawsuits against them while they were in office. That law may now be struck down, leading Berlusconi’s lawyers to say that “he could resign” from office if it is.
- If getting to a tourist information office in Rome just seems like too much trouble, never fear – “tourist angels” are here. Well, almost here. Starting in November, the city’s tourism office will release its fleet of so-called “angels” on – get this – “electric chariots” to rush to the aid of anyone who looks befuddled while in Rome. There are only 60 of these “tourist angels” in the fleet, so there’s no word on how they’re going to cover a city the size of Rome in order to come to the aid of anyone who’s lost or confused. To me, this means that although having a “tourist angel” point you in the right direction would be lovely, I’d still suggest you carry a good Rome map and know where the nearest TI is. Just in case.
- To be the secretary to the President of Sicily might sound like enough of a thankless job, but when your job description includes the role of “official taster,” sampling every single thing that the President might eat lest it be poisoned, then just typing up dictated memos doesn’t sound so bad anymore.
- After a suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed six Italian paratroopers, PM Berlusconi now says that Italy would like to withdraw at least 500 of the roughly 3,000 Italian soldiers in that country.
- Since it’s my favorite church on earth, I always tell people they can’t go to Venice without visiting St. Mark’s Basilica. But even though it’s one of the city’s biggest sights, I’m always surprised that more guidebooks don’t mention the fact that you can make an online reservation to visit the church, thereby bypassing the line, and it’s completely free. Nan at Living Venice just wrote about it, which is what reminded me…
- I enjoyed the 5 minutes I spent watching this video of a bicycle trip through Milan… The soundtrack is more calming than I imagine the bike ride probably was, but it certainly made me miss Milano.
- As if learning Italian wasn’t tough enough, there’s the seemingly-unlimited number of regional dialects to contend with. And if that didn’t turn your brain into knots, then here’s something else to consider – text-messaging in Italy has its own unique language, too.
- Duomo square in Milan was the setting for crowds of mourners over the weekend during the state funeral for Italian-American TV host Mike Bongiorno.
- Berlusconi has been in the news quite a bit lately, mainly because of all the sex scandals he’s linked to – but the latest bit of news is that he’s annoyed one of his closest political allies.
- At the murder trial in Perugia, which just got started again this past week after a two-month summer break, defendant Amanda Knox’s attorneys called a witness who challenged the DNA evidence found at the crime scene.
- Some victims of sexual abuse by priests in Italy are coming forward with their stories – something that hasn’t happened before in large numbers. They’re hoping to change the “culture of silence” around such allegations.
- A volcano-shaped mall near Mt. Vesuvius in Italy? Is this place for real?
- Another earthquake has hit Italy – this one a 4.2 on the Richter scale, and north of where April’s devastating quake hit (this one was between Florence & Bologna). So far, there are no reports of injuries or “significant damage.” And all of this occured on the eve of a ceremony handing over new (albeit temporary) homes to survivors of the April quake.
- I’m a big fan of the trains in Italy, and I take James Martin’s advice seriously, so it’s quite likely I’ll be getting myself one of these European rail maps.
- The head of human rights at the United Nations had some choice words for immigration authorities in Italy and some other countries, saying, “In many cases, authorities reject these migrants and leave them to face hardship and peril, if not death, as though they were turning away ships laden with dangerous waste.”
- And speaking of dangerous waste, a shipwreck has been found off the coast of Calabria that contains 180 barrels of toxic waste. Authorities think there are more than 30 other ships in the waters off Italy’s coasts just like that one, all sunk by the mafia.
- It makes me giddy to know there’s a World Cup of Gelato. Now, to find out how to become a judge…
- How fun is this? It’s a map of all those fantastic drinking fountains in Rome.
- I just found a new (to me) blog dedicated to one town on Italy’s Lake Como, Stresa. And then I was further surprised to find that this little town has a memorial to the victims of the September 11th attacks in the United States, which I found quite touching.
- If you’ve gazed in wonder at the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, then hopefully someone has told you to make a beeline for the city of Ravenna – world famous for its mosaics. If you haven’t yet heeded that advice and gone to Ravenna, now is the perfect time – they’re holding the First International Festival in Contemporary Mosaics in Ravenna this year from October 10 through November 20.
- This is a great post about the differences between a “duomo,” a “basilica” and a “cattedrale” in Italy – something worth reading, especially if you think a church is a church is a church.
- Italy might not be the first place you’d think of when you hear the words “medical tourism,” but a group of dentists near Venice want to change that. They’ve formed a dental clinic to open in October that’ll offer packages including dental care and a vacation in Venice.
- If you care about such things, it was Miss Calabria who won this year’s Miss Italy pageant. And so long as Berlusconi’s in power, you can expect her (and the other finalists) to go on to become candidates for EU Parliament and whatnot.
- It might be only October that feels just around the corner, but it’s not too early to begin planning your November trip to Italy – especially if you’re interested in the many truffle festivals that take place during November.
- Fans of the fountains in Italy will no doubt enjoy reading about this one in L’Aquila, which has 99 spouts.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES