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Italian News Snippets: 07.20.08

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • What’s going on in Italy lately? First we have the couple having sex in a cathedral confessional box, and now we’ve got a couple that got arrested after having sex in the street.
  • Sometimes I’m a big fan of regulation, and in this case I’m jumping for joy: there’s some talk in Venice that the city’s water taxis will have a €30 cap on fares within the historic city center, which will be music to the ears of anyone who’s paid through the nose for a taxi ride in the city.
  • Worried about unwittingly committing a cultural faux pas in Italy? Burnt by the Tuscan Sun has a quick list of rules to remember when you’re in Italy (and, like the author, I break a few of them routinely and without worry).
  • And here’s another fun list – of “stuff Italian people like.”
  • Venice is so dear to my heart that even other people’s travel stories about the canal city make me swoon. This one, from LA Times writer Susan Spano, is great – and she even went to one of my favorite Venetian restaurants, Al Mascaron!
  • As if it wasn’t hard enough to be a Mafioso in Italy, imagine being a gay Mafioso. One prosecutor in Palermo is pleading the case of these gay Mafiosi, saying they’re too afraid to come out because they think they’ll get kicked out of the organization.
  • Not surprisingly, Alitalia makes the list of the most unreliable airlines – teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and collapse for years now, the Italian national carrier may very well be on its last government bailout. If you’ve got an Alitalia ticket, you’d better learn what your rights are if the airline folds before (or during!) your trip.
  • Prosecutors in the investigation into the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who was found strangled and stabbed to death in her Perugia apartment last November, are seeking the indictments of three people who have been jailed since November. The three include Kercher’s roommate (an American student) and boyfriend (an Italian).
  • 15 Italian officials have been found guilty of “abusing protesters in detention” when said protesters were arrested following the G-8 summit in Genoa in 2001.
  • The governor of Pescara has been arrested in an investigation of corruption in the region’s health care system.
  • Berlusconi has promised to not raise taxes during his five-year term.
  • The Times has published what they’re calling a “complete guide” to Puglia, which is a region well-traveled by British tourists but largely ignored by American tourists.
  • A film biography of fashion icon Valentino will show at the Venice Film Festival in August.
  • A woman in Sardinia was reportedly killed by her pet pit bull, and now Italy is looking at restricting people from owning certain dog breeds. Methinks the laws should be more about the people than the dogs – after all, this is a country where thousands and thousands of dogs are abandoned every year. And that ain’t the dogs’ fault.
  • A boat full of migrants capsized near Sicily; there were three confirmed dead, and 25 missing at the time of this writing.
  • A show of Impressionist masters will be on display in Florence through the end of September at the Palazzo Strozzi.
  • Okay, this is just wrong. Someone in Italy has engineered a tree that simultaneously grows eggplants and tomatoes.
  • The foodies among you may have heard of Dario’s famous butcher shop in Panzano (a town in Chianti so small that if you blink you really would miss it); and even if you haven’t heard of him or the butcher shop, here’s the latest from Dario – he’s now serving burgers on the back patio. He’s charging €10 for them, which isn’t cheap, but if you’re really in the mood for a great burger (or just a Dario fan), you’ll want to go. And, as James at Wandering Italy notes, a burger in some other places in Italy will cost four times as much.
  • Interestingly, there’s no word for “privacy” in Italian.