Italian News Snippets: 10.07.07

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • If you’re near the Pantheon in Rome and want to try out your Italian menu translator, Shelley’s got a tip on a lunchtime spot that’s definitely not for tourists.
  • There’s a special Roman theater exhibit at Rome’s Colosseum right now, and it runs through the end of the year.
  • Carnivores are rejoicing at the return of the famous bistecca Fiorentina, finally back to its glorious old self for the first time since the Mad Cow crisis.
  • Don’t let the bed bugs bite – on the train? Italy’s Trenitalia is dealing with another bug problem. Three women got lice on a recent overnight train trip. This last happened in 2005, and apparently the issue isn’t completely resolved yet.
  • Italian police uniforms are sharp (what do you expect from a country so obsessed with fashion?), but now they’ve taken things a bit too far – they’ve decided that police women’s shoes must have higher heels. And that’s not all – apparently they didn’t even get the shoes from Italy.
  • A new museum for Italian design will be opening in Milan in December.
  • Milan’s fashion week has been accused of promoting the too-thin look before, and this year a billboard campaign tried to draw more attention to the very real disease of anorexia. Predictably, the pictures upset some people. You can read more about the campaign (and see the billboards – warning, there’s some nudity here, and they’re a bit shocking) here, here and here.
  • I’ve mentioned before that the Italian food you find in the U.S. (or almost anywhere outside Italy) is nothing like the Italian food you’ll find in Italy, and here’s another example – meatballs don’t go on pasta (ever!), and they’re not called meatballs. This is one Italian phrase you’ll want to learn, so as not to embarrass yourself too much.


  • Here is some good advice for anyone who wants to move to Italy – or pursue any dream, really, no matter how crazy. I’m going to try to take this one to heart: “Eliminate the voices of people who tell you it can’t be done.”
  • Smokers beware – Italy has closed another venue in which you used to be able to light up. Train stations are now smoke-free in Italy, at least indoors. Out on the platform you can still puff away.
  • Here is another guide to the art exhibits going on around Italy.
  • The city of Vicenza has an exhibit going on now featuring gold artifacts from Peru.
  • Making your way to Trajan’s Markets in Rome anytime soon? You’ll get to see a bit of Japanese minimalist sculpture as well.
  • Fashionistas, mark your calendars – a sneak peek of the Pitti Woman collections will be held in early January next year in Milan.
  • Sadly, Venice makes the list of the cities with the most expensive hotels. At least it’s not #1, right? To save money on your stay, you might want to opt for a Venice hostel instead.
  • Remember my warnings about keeping your shirt on in Venice? Turns out it wasn’t all just talk from the Venetian authorities. They issued €25 fines to more than 100 tourists in August alone. Now that it’s colder, staying clothed shouldn’t be a problem – but remember, the fines are for sitting down or eating in St. Mark’s Square, too.
  • Finding cheap Italy airfare isn’t always easy, but American Airlines is set to offer more choices now – they’re expanding their Europe offerings by adding a new route from New York’s JFK airport to Milan Malpensa.
  • A spa in Tuscany has made Fodor’s list of five “legendary” European spas. It’s the Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort, between Florence and Pisa. I’ve not forked over the massive amounts of cash to hang out there myself, but it sounds lovely.
  • Two spots in Italy made it onto this list of the world’s most disappointing tourist spots – Rome’s Spanish Steps and Pisa’s Leaning Tower. I’ve been to both, and while neither of them blew me away, I can’t say I found them overly disappointing. What about you?
  • So, do those advance reservations for Florence’s Uffizi really get you past all the lines? These travelers say no – but it seems to me that they didn’t have to wait nearly as long as the people who didn’t book in advance were forced to wait.
  • Motor scooters might look like the most fashionable mode of transport in Rome, but you might want to opt for something a little more human-powered instead – why not bike your way through the Eternal City?
  • If I thought obtaining a permit to stay in Italy would be tough, I was putting it mildly. Apparently, having officials not lose your file altogether is a really good start.
  • Shelley has a few notes here about things getting lost in translation between Italian and English (that part starts under the adorable pictures of her cats!). Good stuff. Makes me feel better about my wholly inadequate Italian.
  • You’ve probably heard about the many strikes that happen in Italy – train strikes, bus strikes, and even recently a pasta strike. But what about a passenger strike? This is the story of one attempt to get a bus company to actually run on time. Sounds like it needs some work.
  • John Grisham’s new book is about something most Americans probably don’t even know exists – American-style football in Italy.
  • Italian police have caught one of the country’s most-wanted Mafia fugitives.

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