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Italy News: 08.31.08

Some Italian news for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Now I’m really disappointed – that nun beauty contest the Italian priest was trying to run online has been canceled. He says he was getting lots of flak for it. Umm, what did he expect?
  • Pizza chefs in Naples handed out free pizzas to protest what they consider pizza prices that are too high.
  • Chinese ice cream eaters are apparently enjoying an Italian-influenced flavor – parmigiano.
  • Remember when I mentioned that Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s CD of Neapolitan love songs might not come out by Christmas because he was too busy with, y’know, Prime Minster-y things? Well, apparently he heard the clarion call, and is now working hard on his music career.
  • Next Sunday, if you’re in Venice, check out the annual Historic Regatta.
  • I’m not sure why, but I find this news incredibly cool – they’ve found the bones of a saber-toothed tiger in Puglia.
  • Venice’s Grand Canal may be getting a new bridge, but the city council is keeping that quiet – there’s already enough controversy about it.
  • One reporter heads for Sicily to see where DH Lawrence wrote “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and finds out the locals are as passionate as readers of that book might expect.
  • I found another vote recently for visiting the Cappuchin Crypt in Rome, which I couldn’t endorse more heartily.
  • A Dutch couple was attacked savagely outside Rome – both were beaten and the woman was raped. The pair was on a cycling tour of Europe. The attack was allegedly carried out by two Romanian men, and it has brought Italy’s fight against immigration back into the headlines.
  • In July, an Italian court said the government should pay €100,000 in damages to a man who was forced to re-take his driver’s test because he’s gay.
  • One of Italy’s most xenophobic political parties, the Northern League, has proposed a new law that would essentially prevent any new Islamic mosques from being built in the country.
  • One of the highlights of the first day of the Venice Film Festival was a restored print of the Italian classic, “The Bicycle Thief.”
  • The famous 5,000-year-old “Iceman” mummy which was discovered in 1991 by a German couple has been in legal limbo for years because the area where it was found is right on the border between Austria and Italy. A monetary settlement has now been reached to put an end to the legal battle, and the mummy will remain Italian.
  • A tour company in Tuscany is offering walking tours aimed at kids.
  • You may recall the Vatican’s disapproval of the depiction of a crucified frog in an art museum in Italy – well, that museum isn’t taking the sculpture down.
  • Students in Italy will now get a grade for their behavior, and will have to repeat a year if they fail to get high marks in the behavior category.
  • Land which the government has seized from the Mafia in Sicily is being put to good use – as the home of thousands of solar panels.
  • Mental Mosaic says the streets of Naples aren’t full of garbage, and she’s got the pictures to prove it.