Italy News: 07.12.09

Some news from Italy for your Sunday reading pleasure:

  • Where else but Italy would you find a marathon where the participants are all wearing high heels? The Glamarathon took place in Milan on July 4th – and lest you think there’s some kind of sexist exclusion going on here, there were boys who donned stilettos and participated, too. It was all done in an effort to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the most people “running” 80 meters in heels. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a couple of videos of the event, including some guys practicing a rather unorthodox method of moving.
  • This is interesting for anyone who speaks Italian or is learning to – the 1000 most used words in Italian.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but this photo of the Pope during his regular general audience at the Vatican made me think, “What song would the Pope sing for karaoke?”
  • It’s official, Venice is now full of WiFi hotspots. Nan at Living Venice has a post about the new program here, including instructions on how to buy it before you arrive and a map of where the coverage areas are.
  • If you’ve ever wondered how to make authentic Italian espresso at home, the answer is simple – get a mokapot. What’s a mokapot, and how do you make coffee in one? Paula of bell’alimento has the answer.
  • Soccer player Oguchi Onyewu will become only the second American to play in the top Italian league when he dons an AC Milan jersey starting in the 2009/2010 season. He signed a 3-year contract with the club last week.


  • A member of parliament in Italy has resigned after a video surfaced in which he’s paricipating in a racist chant targeting the people of Naples. He denies that his resignation has anything to do with the video. (Sure – he just wants to spend more time with his family, right?) And, not surprisingly, he’s a member of the particularly xenophobic Northern League.
  • How cool is this? NYC/Caribbean Ragazza got to go to the airport in Rome when President Obama arrived! Her photos are here.
  • Since the G8 meeting was moved to the earthquake-ravaged Abruzzo region, Italian officials have been very public about the fact that there’s a quake evacuation plan in place should a tremor happen during the meeting.
  • During the G8 summit, US President Barack Obama toured the earthquake damage in L’Aquila with Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.
  • During the G8 summit in L’Aquila, it wasn’t just the various national leaders who toured the earthquake damage – the first ladies made visits to the reconstruction as well. France’s first lady, Italian Carla Bruni, personally pledged €50,000 to a local hospital.
  • Following on the heels of the G8 leaders, actor (and Italy resident) George Clooney toured earthquake-damaged L’Aquila as well, and said he’d film part of a movie in the region to help the local economy.
  • David Farley’s book about one of the Catholic church’s oddest relics is just out, and sounds awfully intriguing.
  • An Italian paper (owned by Berlusconi’s family) says the recent attacks on Italy’s PM by the British press are “racist.” Whatever they are, this Berlusconi cartoon from The Times is pretty damned amusing.
  • Turns out I’m not the only one who doesn’t love Rome with every fiber of her being. Robin of My Melange doesn’t, either.
  • There are lots of countries experiencing a “brain drain” of scientists and whatnot leaving for greener pastures, but only in Italy would that phenomenon become fodder for a TV melodrama.

Here’s a video of the start of the Glamarathon:

And a video of the finish, including a couple guys not exactly running:

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