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Italian News Snippets: 01.06.08

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Italy ranks first among international vacation destinations for U.S. travelers for the 5th year in a row.
  • Thankfully, you don’t have to speak Italian to understand this funny little video about telling time in Italy. What’s the secret? Why, it’s all about the donkey’s balls, of course.
  • An art show at Rome’s Quirinale Palace is proudly displaying the works of ancient art which art authorities were able to get returned from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The show runs through May 2, 2008, and has free admission every day except Sunday.
  • If you’re in the neighborhood of Turin be sure to visit the newly re-opened Venaria Reale, a one-time Savoy “pleasure palace.”
  • In a new poll, Italians were named the best lovers. Germans were named the worst.
  • Stunning frescoes which were preserved by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. – the same Vesuvius eruption that stopped Pompeii in its tracks – have gone on display in Rome at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. The show runs through March 30, 2008.
  • Sicily is on the rise as a tourist destination in Italy – even Rick Steves says so.
  • If you’re looking for a big, fat book on Italian food, you could do worse than the recently releasedOxford Companion to Italian Food.”
  • Milan’s drivers will now be paying an extra “congestion charge” as the government follows the lead of cities like London in an effort to get people to pollute less. Vehicles that don’t pollute (like electric or hybrid cars and scooters) are exempt.
  • The largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches and notes has been damaged by mold. Authorities don’t know how mold got into the Codex Atlanticus, but they’re working on a plan to preserve the documents.
  • At least one Italian journalist thinks that 2008 is going to be a bad year for Italy, but he’s hopeful that it will lead to a great 2009.
  • Believe it or not, Naples is having yet another trash crisis. The EU isn’t happy about all these ongoing garbage problems in Italy, either.
  • New Years in Italy can be a great celebration, but a new curfew meant that party-goers had to call it a night by 2am throughout the country.
  • Italy’s government renewed the authority to expel “dangerous” EU citizens from the country, an effort that seems to be targeted pretty directly at Romanians.
  • Apparently the Capri Film Festival was really desperate for actors to honor, because they chose to hold up train-wreck Lindsay Lohan as a talent worth recognizing.
  • After much back and forth, officials have said they like the Air France bid for Alitalia. Of course, there are still plenty of people who don’t like the idea, and the sale may effect the future of Milan’s Malpensa airport.
  • It’s a vicious cycle – people in Italy say they’re the least happy in Europe, which leads some to declare a general malaise in the country, which gets publicized in the NY Times, which causes Italians to become depressed about being called depressed, which makes politicians unhappy, and which causes the author of the NY Times article to talk about his article.
  • Can’t get enough of reality TV? Add a little Italian flavor to your programming menu with MTV’s “That’s Amore,” a show where a Milan-born man will be looking for his “American sweetheart” from among the 15 female contestants who will be vying for his attention. The show begins on March 2.
  • If you thought summer 2007 in Italy was hot, it’s apparently just going to get worse. In fact, there’s a tropical disease in Italy now.
  • Naming a child in Italy can come down to a court’s decision – a couple who wanted to name their child “Friday” wasn’t allowed to.
  • Should you find yourself needing to bribe a police officer in Italy, try using mozzarella. (Note: We are not advocating bribing police officers in Italy.)