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Italy News: 08.03.08

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Everyone’s still looking for quiet corners of heavily traveled places to find one spot no one’s heard of. This article lists several such places, including one in Sicily – the fortified hilltop town of Erice, about an hour outside of Palermo. Of course, if you’re reading about it in an article called “Places You’ve Never Heard Of” the chances that it’s still going to be untrodden & undiscovered by the time you get there are pretty slim. Want to be a real pioneer? Find out where the guidebooks are pointing & walk in the opposite direction.
  • Here’s more background on the story of how rundown Pompeii has become over the years, and what Italy is doing about it.
  • After Italy started using the euro I was a bit nostalgic for the lira… But I can’t imagine them going back to it now, after so many years. What will Italy do if they’re forced out of the European monetary union?
  • The city of Florence is listed first in this article of the top 10 girl getaways – and while I love the idea, they left out a very important part of an Italy vacation with your girlfriends: Ogling the Italian men. Hubba hubba.
  • I just can’t get enough of these stories… They’ve brought a 2,500-year-old Greek ship that was underwater off the coast of Sicily up to the surface, and they’re going to work now to reconstruct & preserve it. Seriously, if this happened in most places it’d be major world-wide news. A 2,500-year-old ship? First time it’s been above water since it sank? Big news. But in Italy? Ah, it’s just another one of the old things they seem to dig up everyday. *sigh*
  • And in another one of those fabulous “in Italy they just seem to keep tripping over ancient discoveries” stories, there’s an island off the coast of Sicily upon which they’ve just found a rare Byzantine baptismal font. I’m not kidding when I can’t get enough of these stories, really.
  • The US military base in Vicenza has been approved for expansion by the Italian courts.
  • If you’re trying to handicap the Oscar race for next year, you could do worse than keep an eye on what does well at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
  • I’ve featured posts before about how confusing the street signs in Italy can be, and to add to that, Alex at Blog From Italy has just posted a helpful note about interpreting Italian street signs.
  • With as tough as the moving-to-Italy process can be (making me occasionally wonder why I’m even trying to do this), it’s little posts like this one from Emma in Sardinia that make me remember why I still want to live in Italy.
  • The recent running of this year’s Tour de France inspired this Guardian writer to become a Guardian rider – he hopped on his bike and set out to find the top 10 bike rides in Europe. One of them is in the Italian Dolomites.
  • For anyone who thinks that the whole Venice gondolier gig looks easy, check out this Times article about one average guy who gave gondolier school a whirl.
  • The Italian high court has ruled that “even millionaires need alimony.”
  • Inflation in Italy is at a 12-year high, and the government is being called upon to do something about it.
  • If you’ll be in Italy in September or October this year, keep your eye out for some of the 300,000 limited-edition Coke bottles that are to be “outfitted” by famed designed Roberto Cavalli.
  • Some are questioning why US Presidential candidate Barack Obama left Italy off his recent European itinerary.
  • European discount airline Ryanair isn’t making any friends in Italy with a new ad that shows an Italian politician giving the finger – the point of the ad, according to Ryanair, is to show that Italy is giving Italians the finger by sticking with the failing Alitalia instead of opening up its airports to discount carriers like Ryanair.
  • So, is it a coincidence that Italy’s antitrust authority has decided right now to charge Ryanair with misleading advertising (in an unrelated marketing campaign)? I think not.
  • But even with all that flap, Ryanair has added two more Italian cities to its list of airports in Italy it already serves. You can now fly Ryanair directly to Bologna and Forli.
  • A sculpture of a crucified frog holding a beer mug has been causing quite a stir since it went up as part of an art show in Bolzano in May.
  • Italy’s foreign minister says the country is ready to increase its troop deployment in Afghanistan.
  • One Guardian writer spent some time at a retreat on a hill in Umbria, and calls the hill “a magical place.”
  • The police have busted what they say is an olive oil stealing racket.
  • The Italian Supreme Court says it’s not okay for bosses to use the F-word around their employees.
  • It’s August, and that means (almost) everyone in Italy is on vacation – even the Pope.
  • Google Italy is facing criminal charges over a video posted in 2006 of a Turin student with Down syndrome being harrassed & abused by classmates, although the video was removed as soon as it was pointed out to the company.
  • Last weekend more than 350 illegal immigrants arrived on Italian shores on boats which landed on Sardinia, Lampedusa & Sicily.