Italy debt rating downgraded by S&P
A little more than a month after S&P made headlines for downgrading the U.S. credit rating, the agency has downgraded Italy's credit rating, too. Italy's debt used to be rated "A+/A-1+" and now S&P says it's rated "A/A-1." And no, I don't totally understand what that means, either, other than it's yet another sign that the world is paying attention to Italy's flagging economy.
Italy criticizes S&P downgrade as political
Not surprisingly, Silvio Berlusconi has lashed out at S&P following the downgrade, calling it "political" and saying it wasn't based in reality. Even though I don't fully understand the whole credit rating deal, I think it's our dear Silvio who isn't based in reality right now.
How to keep it cheap in Napoli
I don't agree with this author that there aren't any "must-see" attractions in Naples worth mentioning (and yes, I left a comment on the post!), but I do agree that Naples is an awesome city for anyone who wants to visit Italy on a budget. Just the fact that you can get the best pizza you'll ever have in your life for a few euro is enough to make me swoon…
Naples Agrees to Host Two Stops on America’s Cup World Series
The press release says that Naples "has agreed in principle" to host the American's Cup World Series for two different stops – one in April 2012 and the other in May 2013. I'm not sure what "in principle" means in this case, & it's a long way off yet, but that could be a fun sight off the coast of Napoli. (via @NapoliUnplugged on Twitter)
Pompeian red? It’s actually ochre, researchers say
That gorgeous rusty-red color that adorns so many of the walls at Pompeii (that I personally fell totally in love with) may not be the original color painted on those walls, according to new research. Gases spit out by Vesuvius before it buried the city may have caused a chemical change in the pigment of the paint, turning what was once a mustardy-yellow to what we now know as "Pompeian red."
Thursday Traveler: Jessica Spiegel of WhyGo Italy
Okay, so not everything in this interview with yours truly is about Italy… In fact, most of it isn't about Italy. But still. Read on and you'll find out how I define the word "traveler," the place I'm most dying to go, and what I can't leave home without (but wish I could).
Tiny countries that pack a big punch
While the tiniest nation-state of all – Vatican City – doesn't make the list, tiny San Marino (in Emilia-Romagna) does.
The Quiet Italian
What is it with Milan lately? First the excellent cover story on the July/August issue of National Geographic Traveler talking about the more romantic, soulful side of Milan – and now this story from Conde Nast Traveler about how Milan's sense of fashion is about more than just a bunch of design houses being headquartered in the city. Is Milan's tourism office working overtime lately, or is this a coincidence?
Top of the Town
I posted recently about the "albergo diffuso" trend, in which a hotel is essentially dispersed through old, unused buildings in a town. This is another example of an "albergo diffuso," in a medieval village outside Caserta, but this one has an interesting twist – one of the rooms features a bed on trolley tracks that lets you sleep in the open air by rolling through a window in the wall. (via http://npr.tumblr.com/)
Alessandro Treggiari Rocco and the Ideal Bar
When you like what you do, there's no reason to quit, right? These photos are of Rocco, an 83-year-old man who's been running a cafe in southern Italy since the 1960s. (via @ryanvb on Twitter)