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Italian News Snippets: 12.09.07

It’s been a few weeks since the last news snippets post – between my recent trip to Milan and having been sick almost constantly for the last three weeks, I haven’t been up to it. And I’m hoping to make a few changes to the way I gather these articles to make it easier for this collection to go up each week, so it may still not be back to its regular weekly appearance for awhile. I hope you’ll bear with me in the meantime!

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • If you ever wondered why Rome has such a pathetic subway system, this story should help you understand: archaeologists think they’ve found the place where ancient Romans believed Romulus and Remus were suckled by the she-wolf.
  • A new drawing by Michelangelo has been discovered at the Vatican, and shows ideas for architectural designs for St. Peter’s.
  • A wood and ivory throne dating from Roman times has been uncovered in the city of Herculaneaum.
  • A truffle weighing in at an impressive three pounds was found in late November in Tuscany.
  • Not sure what to get the Italophile on your Christmas list? Ms. Adventures in Italy has written up a fantastic gift-giving guide.
  • An art show focusing on art produced by women opened recently in Milan’s Palazzo Reale and will be on exhibit until March 9, 2008.
  • Italian restoration experts will lend a hand in restoring the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • 14 Caravaggio masterpieces are being displayed in Trapani’s Museo Pepoli (in Sicily) until March 14, 2008.
  • Urbino’s Palazzo Ducale has begun featuring “electronic frescoes” alongside its more traditional art.
  • A bestselling book about the Mafia in Naples is set to become a film.
  • The late Pavarotti has been added to the Rome Wax Museum.
  • Florence’s Santo Spirito church has reopened to visitors after having chased out the city’s drug dealers and homeless.
  • The Venice airport is set to undergo a massive expansion over the next three years (I just hope it doesn’t get too big, or it will no longer be my recommended entry point into Italy for overseas visitors).
  • Italy used to be in 3rd place on the Country Brand Index scale, and it’s slipped to 5th place.
  • The flu season in Italy should reach its height in January and February, so bring your vitamin C tablets with you if you’re traveling then.
  • Smokers, be aware – you can no longer light up in Verona’s city parks.
  • An exhibit of pop art has opened in Rome at the Scuderie del Quirinale, and will run through January 27, 2008.
  • Apparently even Mafiosi have ten commandments. Who knew?
  • Italy’s first design museum opened recently in Milan.
  • A new Christmas T-shirt might shock your Italian friends and family.
  • A Hollywood film starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts is using Milan as the setting for at least part of its story.
  • Nativity scenes are everywhere at Christmas in Italy, but American politicians has joined the cast of characters this year – both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton figurines (among other presidential candidates) are being made for some nativity scenes in Naples.
  • You’ve seen thousands of pictures of Italy – but take a look at these: Naples and its surroundings in the 1950s.