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Italian News Snippets: 06.24.07

Some Italian news for your Sunday:

  • The Federation of Italian Nudists (who knew there was such a thing?) says it’s a real shame that in all of Italy there are only about 10 nudist camps – they’d like to keep Italian nudists in Italy instead of forcing them to go abroad to bear it all.
  • Okay, how’s this for strange – it’s a diet pill which swells to the size of a tennis ball in your stomach so you’re not hungry anymore. It’s supposedly like eating a “nice plate of pasta,” but clearly without the calories. Or, I might add, the taste.
  • We’ve all heard of airports having trouble with bird populations – both planes and birds sharing airspace, it’s bound to be a problem now and again – but airports having trouble with rabbits? That’s a new one. And it shut down one of the country’s busiest airports for several hours.
  • The Vatican wants to see the Johns prosecuted instead of the prostitutes.
  • Prostitution isn’t the only thing on the Vatican’s mind, however – they’ve issued a “Ten Commandments” for drivers as well. As Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” noted last week, the funniest part of this (and there are plenty of funny parts) is that “the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving had become such a big part of contemporary life.” Umm, right. Because that happened only recently? Wha?
  • Planning a trip to Pompeii? You can now see 10 houses which had been closed for renovations – they just reopened to the public.
  • Dan Brown better get to work on another book – an Italian archaeologist says the Holy Grail is “hidden in catacombs under a sixth-century church in Rome.”
  • There’s yet another example of a dying art, quite literally – the last person who produced handmade fishnets in Sicily (and possibly all of Italy) has died at the age of 78.
  • If you’re in the mood for a high-end pre-determined tour of the Campania region, Via Michelin has come up with a three-day holiday complete with stops at wine and cheese making farms, area hill towns and some of the region’s nicest restaurants and hotels. If you can afford it, it sounds wonderful.
  • If you’re someone who thinks that stones can tell stories, you’ll be very pleased to hear about Pasquino the talking statue in Rome. He’s been telling stories for centuries now.
  • Amazing – even though the streets of Naples are overflowing with garbage, people are protesting the reopening of a large garbage dump which had been closed three years ago… Even though the site is only supposed to reopen for 20 days to help deal with the problem.
  • The Baroque Noto Cathedral in Sicily has reopened after its dome collapsed in 1996. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and considered a “real Baroque masterpiece,” or so says the Pope (and he’s infallible).
  • For years people have wondered what it is about the Mediterranean diet that gives locals long and healthy lives. A new missive from the Italian farmers’ union says it has the answer: Garlic.
  • Italian farmers are understandably upset over the increasing encroachment of genetically modified foods onto store shelves, especially when you’re talking about GM versions of the things that make Italy famous – olive oil, tomatoes and wine.
  • But in an effort to protect some of Italy’s most famous agricultural products, one proposal is to use nano-technology “to show where a food product has come from” so people would know whether they were buying an honest-to-goodness Italian product or a fake.
  • Italian scientists say they’ve solved the riddle of where the Etruscans came from – they were Turkish.
  • Italy’s drought crisis team is meeting again on Tuesday to see where the country’s water supply stands now that summer is officially here.