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Italy News: 10.12.08

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Are you one of the people who has watched Italian TV and wondered why every single show seems to require its own chorus line of skinny women in skimpy outfits? If you are, you’ll love the humor in this video.
  • A retired couple in Italy was arrested in Sicily recently for selling marijuana – they turned to selling drugs when they couldn’t make ends meet on their pension income.
  • As someone who loves Venice and hates pigeons, I’m pleased to hear that the pigeon population in the canal city has been reduced from roughly 20,000 to about 1,000 after local officials banned the feeding of the dirty birds in St. Mark’s Square.
  • Can you imagine what it might be like to have an actual bona fide Italian saint in your family? One man who can is Justin Catanoso – and you can read more about him and even enter to win a copy of his new book by commenting either at the My Bella Vita post or the Bleeding Espresso post.
  • Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani is being called out for going back on his promise to stop using fur in his designs – Armani’s response? He’s only using rabbit fur from animals that are already being killed for food. I don’t think that’s going to placate the PETA folks.
  • This weekend tour of Italy’s capital city includes lots of free things to do in Rome, and some nice insights about them as well.
  • I never go anywhere in Italy (or lots of other places, for that matter) without my camera, so I never tire of looking at – or taking – gorgeous pictures of Italy. These photographs are mostly of Venice, which is fine with me as I seriously adore the city, but you’ll also find great shots of Florence, and Rome as well.
  • Taking teenagers on a tour of Italy isn’t always about forcing appreciation. Sometimes it’s about giving in, as’s Jackie Wullschlager found out.
  • Over the weekend in Rome there were large protests against racism, following the killing of 6 African immigrants outside Naples, the killing of an African immigrant in Milan, and the beating of a Chinese immigrant outside Rome.
  • Italy may be a Catholic stronghold, but the Mormon church plans to build its first temple in Italy in Rome.
  • A new film about the Naples mafia, called “Gomorrah,” has just been released – and the author of the book the film is based on now lives in fear for his life.
  • With more than 50 Italian soccer players being struck at an early age with Lou Gehrig’s disease, the league is now looking for answers as to why that is.
  • If you want to experience a bit of Rome but can only make it as far as, say, Minnesota – you’re in luck. The “Vatican Splendors” exhibit is at the Minnesota History Center now, and while it doesn’t list an end date for the show it does say it’s a limited engagement. So if you’re in the area and thinking about it, buy your tickets now & go.
  • A couple hotels in Italy make this list of the 10 best classic city hotels – The Danieli in Venice and The Hotel de Russie in Rome.
  • If you’ve read any of Dan Brown’s books, you’ll be intrigued by this view of St. Peter’s Basilica from a keyhole in a door belonging to the Priory of the Knights of Malta in Rome.
  • You know I love learning the Italian language, even if it continues to confound me, and that I’m particularly fond of Italian idiomatic expressions, right? Well, Cherrye has listed six that are not only common but should be pretty easy to master. In the comments you’ll find lots more interesting ones, too!
  • Venice’s Marina de Venezia makes an appearance on this list of the top 10 budget campgrounds in Europe.
  • Apparently those swimming goggles aren’t protecting the eyes of everyone who wears them. An Italian scientist says people over 60 could go blind if they wear them.
  • Have you ever wondered what the most beautiful Italian park is? Neither have I. But there was a contest, and the commission in charge announced the results – the winner is the formal garden at Villa Pisani (once owned by Napoleon) in the town of Stra near Venice. Incidentally, it was the location of the first meeting between Hitler & Mussolini in 1934. The gardens are open to the public.
  • Spike Lee is still not making friends over his new film, set in Italy during World War II.
  • PM Silvio Berlusconi has launched an anti-corruption drive. Good. I’m glad to know Berlu is finally on the case. Now we can all sleep soundly at night.
  • Italian car enthusiasts will be happy to learn that Alfa Romeo plans to bring its iconic cars back to US shores in 2010. I know the husband is pleased about that (although by that point I hope we’re in a position for him to be looking at Italian cars in Italy instead of the US).
  • Visitors to Venice on Sundays will now be treated to a new sight – giant and beautiful flags flying in front of the Basilica di San Marco.