Brothel raid in Florence
Police raiding a brothel in Florence got a bit of a surprise when they found the women to be not what they were expecting. It turned out to be two women in their 60s and one in her late 40s, one of whom was just trying to make a few extra euro so she could continue to help her son pay for his university studies.
Cinquecento aficionados to meet in Liguria
If you love the little Fiat 500 as much as I do, and you're going to be in Liguria this July, you might want to head to Garlenda for the 27th International Fiat 500 gathering.
Italy says Ischia volcano, near Naples, could blow
All the talk of the volcano in Iceland has me focused on the word "volcano" in general – but Italy definitely has a few volcanoes to pay attention to. Etna on Sicily is perhaps the most active lately, but there's one on the island of Ischia that scientists are worried about right now.
Armani Debuts in Dubai (Milan is Next)
Armani opened his first fashion-centric hotel in Dubai, but upon doing so he also announced he'd be opening the second Armani hotel in Milan in 2011.
Italy city hall uses emoticons to gauge customer satisfaction
Customers at Milan's city hall now get to rate their experiences with a touch-screen showing three variations on a smiley face – a happy one, a so-so one, and a frowney one – which city councilors say will help improve customer experiences. Since the main complaint is a long wait time, I'm not holding my breath. Isn't a long queue something of an Italian specialty?
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Foreign Service Institute’s Language Courses Available Free Online
If you've ever heard about how great the US Foreign Service's language courses are, you'll be excited to hear that they're now online – and free to download. As soon as Lifehacker posted the link to the courses, the Foreign Service's website crashed… And the audio portion of the language courses hasn't yet gone back up. But you can still get monster-sized PDFs of the courses – including, of course, Italian. (via EyeOnItaly.com/podcast)
Venice “People Mover” Tram
Venice's new "People Mover" tram system started operation last week. It connects the car parking lot on the Tronchetto island with the other parking area at Piazzale Roma (across the Grand Canal from the train station) – so if you're not driving a car to Venice you may never see or use it, but if you do have a car in Venice it could come in handy. (The article is in Italian, but has pictures of the tram.) (via @Italofileblog on Twitter)
Bulgari ads hide Bridge of Sighs in Venice
This is just outrageous… Visitors to Venice have gotten used to seeing big billboard ads plastered in prominent locations, but to allow gigantic Bulgari billboards to obscure the view of the famous Bridge of Sighs seems to be taking the desire to make money on advertising too freaking far. C'mon, Venice city officials, take those billboards down! (via @Italofileblog on Twitter)
To Bike: bike-sharing a Torino!
Turin (Torino) has joined the ranks of Italian cities with a bike-sharing program. The site is in Italian, but if you'll be spending time in Turin it may be worth looking into. It's only 2euro for an entire day's bike rental. (via @MadelineJ on Twitter)
How is the Giro d’Italia Like Sex?
I don't completely agree with James of Wandering Italy in this article, but I think that's because I'm a cycling fan and he's not. In any case, it's a funny analysis of Italy's biggest bike race, whether you agree with him or not.
Bella Figura: A Story of Coordinated Couples
I love these pictures of couples coordinating their outfits while out on the town in Sicily; it's like prom, but it's every day. Fantastic.
Ancient IKEA building discovered in Italy
Okay, so archaeologists in Italy unearthing an ancient building isn't exactly unheard of – but the title of this article drew me in. Apparently archaeologists found an ancient building that came with "detailed assembly instructions."