Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:
- It only took 900-some-odd years, but Venice finally has its first female gondolier. There’s another article about her, plus a photo, here.
- Unfortunately, there was a bit of an issue immediately after the first female gondolier passed the test – it involved the question of her having an agent and expecting money in order to give interviews (which isn’t allowed by the gondolier union) – but it turns out to have been a misunderstanding.
- Note to travelers in Italy: Don’t lose anything on an Italian train right now. The “lost & found” offices have been “temporarily suspended.”
- I know that computers have frustrated me to bits in the past, but I’m still not sure I’d be so fed up as to shoot one – but that’s just what a 68-year-old man in Italy did when his computer froze.
- Five new sites were named to the list of UNESCO World Heritage locations – among them the Dolomite mountain range in northern Italy.
- Travelers in Great Britain have voted Italians into the top spot as the worst drivers in Europe on a TripAdvisor survey – despite admitting to some things that indicate they’re not terribly good drivers, either.
- A train carrying liquid gas exploded after a derailment near the town of Viareggio in Italy, causing a fire which spread to nearby apartment buildings. More than a dozen are reported dead, with more than 50 burned and injured. (As of today, the death toll is up to 19.)
- Not all ruins in Italy are in crumbled heaps. Check out this overgrown building in Sorrento – how cool is that?
- A former CIA spy being tried in absentia in Italy for the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan says he’s not guilty because he was just following orders.
- It’s not that Berlusconi says the Italian government is stable despite his current scandals that made me laugh in this article. It’s that he says his is the most stable government in the West. I’m not sure Italy has ever qualified as a stable government, much less the most stable in the West. But y’know, I’m sure that’s just a technicality in his book.
- With Berlusconi, the scandals never stop. This time, he’s apparently had dinner with a judge who’s going to be presiding over a case involving whether to give – wait for it – Berlusconi immunity from criminal prosecution.
- Despite the fact that Chrysler reportedly won’t be adding the entire Fiat lineup to the list of cars that’ll be available in the US, American car buyers will be able to get the new Fiat 500 by 2011.
- The Italian parliament has officially approved a strict new anti-immigration law.
- You may have already heard about the Japanese couple that was charged roughly €700 for dinner in Rome – and had to go to the police in order to get the charges reversed – but it’s a good reminder to take a moment to look at your bill before you get up and walk away from your table.
- There’s a new guide out from Italy’s version of AAA about touring Italy by car.
- A new study says that the Tuscans of today are not descended from Etruscans, the people who lived in the area before the Greeks and Romans showed up.
- 14 Italian antiquities which were proven to have been stolen were returned to Italy from the Cleveland Museum of Art.
- A Vatican official is warning the church not to make the same mistakes it made when it rejected the scientific discoveries of Galileo by rejecting modern science.
- As of a couple days ago, Venice is apparently one big WiFi hotspot. It’s free for residents, and visitors can “book” WiFi access via the VeniceConnected website up to a week ahead of time.
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