"Cacchio, che caldo!" "Una buona mamma vale cento maestre." A good mother is worth a hundred teachers (but a rich escort is worth 150 teachers), "Only In Italy!"
We were pondering the following question while barbecuing yesterday: Did Pavarotti prefer more to sing or eat?
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Florence - July 2, 2011 - As well as the enduring mystery of the identity of the Mona Lisa, art historians have long theorized about the painting, as well as his other works.
Italian art historian Carla Glori, claimed that the painting identifies the exact location of the landscape which provides the background of the painting.
She believes that a three-arched bridge which appears over the left shoulder of the woman is a reference to the village Bobbio, which is south of Piacenza, in northern Italy.
In October last year Giuseppe Pallanti, an expert on da Vinci, who has spent three decades studying the archives trying to establish Lisa Gherardini's final resting place, claimed that her remains were interred in a dump.
Lisa Gherardini was widely believed to be the inspiration for the painting, was buried in the grounds of Sant-Orsola convent in 1542. But the ground were renovated in the 1980s and during work to build an underground car park, the convent's foundations were excavated and sent to a municipal landfill site on the outskirts of Florence.
In December, members of Italy's National Committee for Cultural Heritage claimed the tiny numbers and letters were painted into the eyes of the Mona Lisa.
In the right eye appeared to be the letters LV which could stand for Leonardo Da Vinci while in the left eye there were symbols.
Silvano Vinceti, president of the committee, said: "It is very difficult to make them out clearly but they appear to be the letters CE or it could be the letter B. You have to remember the picture is almost 500 years old so it is not as sharp and clear as when first painted.
"While in the arch of the bridge in the background the number 72 can be seen, or it could be an L and the number 2."
And in 2007, there were claims that da Vinci's The Last Supper contains a hidden image of a woman holding a child.
The figure allegedly appears when the 15th Century mural painting is superimposed with its mirror image, and both are made partially transparent.
"Ma porca vacca", it's amazing the wonders people come up with when there is so much free time on their hands.
We might not know a lot in this Italian world. If you ask any of the staff writers here to add two numbers together, we would have stop and use our toes and fingers. But at least we are aware that Leonardo da Vinci was a genius...and prankster.
"Oh, si", he is widely believed to have hidden secret messages within much of his artwork but it's not as if one of those messages will reveal how to make the perfect "melanzane alla parmigiana". You don't need Da Vinci to know you're supposed to gently fry the eggplant slices first.
Theories and more theories, "eh cavolo!"
Mona Lisa's smile: If we had a Euro for every theory that has come out, we could eliminate a good number of our useless neighbors. Why the smile? Was she happy? Pregnant? We also have a theory: She was on a gynecologistís table being examined and a mouse ran out. He lured it out with a piece of Pecorino cheese.
Mona Lisa's missing eyebrows: Where are they? What happened? Maybe, it was this: For centuries some Italian women did not believe in tweezing their eyebrows. Some of them had what we used to call 'uni-brows'. It was fun to watch those uni-brows grow just to see what they progressed into. Mona Lisa lived during the great anti uni-brow revolution of Florence.
"In the right eye appeared to be the letters LV which could stand for Leonardo Da Vinci while in the left eye there were symbols." Hmmm...there is a hidden message there. Could be this:
Dante dunce. LV #1.
Rome - July 3, 2011 - Police have broken up a banquet of bear meat hosted by Berlusconi's powerful coalition partner in northern Italy after government ministers and animal rights groups described the event as scandalous.
The order came as about 200 people lined up to devour grilled and stewed bear at a rally in Imer in the Italian Dolomites organized by the Northern League.
Organizers said they had bought the meat legally in Slovenia to get round a ban on bear hunting in Italy, but food safety officers from Italy's paramilitary Carabinieri police objected to the lack of import documentation for the 50kg of meat.
Foreign minister Franco Frattini and tourism minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla had condemned the bear feast as "a scandalous initiative", while environment minister Stefania Prestigiacomo described the get-together as "barbarous".
In his blog, Frattini said the banquet was particularly offensive since Italian bears were "almost extinct and we are trying with great effort to bring them back to the mountains that have hosted them for centuries".
The brown bear population has risen to about 35 in and around the Dolomites after 10 were reintroduced there a decade ago. But instead of celebrating their return, some locals have complained that the bears are attacking chickens and sheep. Claims made for lost livestock rose to 100,000 Euros ($143,000 USD) last year, and farmers were fed up, said Maurizio Fugatti, an MP for the anti-immigrant Northern League.
Hence the banquet, which, said Fugatti, had been planned to "send a clear signal to citizens who have the right to reconquer their territory and freely circulate".
To protect locals from marauding bears, he added, "we prefer to eat them like this."
Fugatti said half of the bear meat had been cooked for the canceled banquet but the remainder was frozen and ready for a new dinner date should the paperwork be put in order.
"The idea was to attract attention to a bear repopulation plan which has got out of hand, resulting in locals being followed by bears through woods normally frequented by families. Even if the banquet doesn't happen, we have made our point," he went on.
The Northern League has long specialized in controversial statements and stunts. In 2007 Senator Roberto Calderoli proposed dissuading Muslims from building a mosque in Bologna by parading a pig across the chosen site, defiling it.
Yogi Bear: "Mamma mia, Boo-Boo, these animals are out of their mind."
Have you ever wondered how some mental Italian politicians who give a personal name to each one of their kitchen knives are able to win glory, wealth, fame, and an enduring place in Italy's sagas while others have to settle for plundering a few small towns in Calabria and Sicily?
Welcome to the world of the "Lega Nord".
Itís easy to see how simple and foul-mouthed the tone of their language is. It is the same linguistic style used by Lega representatives, a trick they have used to reach a wider public (a stupid and illiterate public, mind you, who is usually full of crap and immobile from eating too much polenta, slurping grappa, and belching) in the past elections and "conquer" a new electorate with so-called hot issues such as national security, immigration...and bear invasions.
So, what principles separate these Northern Italian Vikings from ordinary political ravagers? Well, the Lega Nord embraces the plunder approach which states that all the resources and success of a country should be held by the territory responsible for it...their territory.
1. Be arrogant and destructive
2. Principles of personal victory
3) Go nuts
Naples - July 4, 2011 - Following weeks of government debate and street demonstrations over the Naples trash crisis, the southern city's mayor announced Monday that the problem may finally have reached a close.
"The city has been substantially cleaned up," said Mayor Luigi de Magistris. "A massive clean-up operation targeted the worst-hit districts last night".
He added that it is still unclear as to where that garbage will now be dumped.
A central government measure passed last week permits the Campania region to export refuse to other parts of the country, emphasizing that neighboring regions should be the "priority target".
"The response of the mayors (in other regions) has been excellent, and I hope they don't deny our request," said de Magistris, adding that he had been in touch with 10-15 local governments, yet did not specify which ones.
Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia announced his city was sending seven trash compactors to Naples.
The European Union recently chastised the Italian government and threatened sanctions for the thousands of tonnes of trash that covered city streets and the surrounding province in recent weeks.
Armed police escorts had recently begun accompanying garbage trucks as exasperated protesters had resorted to tipping over dumpsters, blocking traffic and setting fire to the growing piles of waste choking the daily flow of city life.
Naples and the surrounding region of Campania have suffered similar crises periodically for a number of years.
The previous public outcry occurred last November when weeks of clashes and rising trash piles brought Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to the city.
It was then that the premier, who won plaudits by sorting out a similar emergency in 2008, made a vow to clear the streets in three days.
But the problems have returned partly because of technical failures in local incinerators and the lack of investment in other landfill sites.
The issue is further complicated by the role of the local mafia, or Camorra, and claims that they have infiltrated waste management in Naples and dumped toxic waste on sites near residential areas.
The government has said it will present a plan within one month outlining a proposed solution to the crisis.
Hmmm...how does a crisis that's a decade old come near to an end? "Cazzarola", let's face it, Naples is a nice if you're a mouse, not a resident.
Napolitani mothers: "Figli miei, we have to learn to live together and resolve our problem. We can't run."
So, should tourists be concerned? It depends on your phobias. The situation isn't lovely. The Napolitani are currently on the search for some hygiene saint to help them get out of that mess. They have one (San Gennaro) whose dried blood liquefies 3 times a year and sends the city into delirium...but that damn garbage is still there.
You would think the good saint would at least perform the miracle of differentiating it.
The problem is as ugly and out of control as a Napolitano sitting out on a stoop with his shirt half-buttoned, drinking cheap wine from a plastic cup. The Campania region's dumps reached full capacity more than a decade ago, and since then a state of emergency has been declared every 48 minutes. Eight different commissioners have been appointed, but they have all failed to solve the problem.
Of course, state of emergency means government cash: 1.8 billion Euros (more than $2.5 billion USD) in emergency funds have been transferred to deal with the problem. It's easier to find a cure for polio than to find out where or how the hell that money has been spent.
Incinerators that were supposed to be built were never finished, either because the companies in charge of building them mysteriously could not finish the job, or else because judges stopped the work, pending ongoing criminal investigations into alleged mafia involvement (yawn...shocking).
But here's the kick in the "culo": Over 20% of the money went to pay for the salaries of those in charge of coming up with a solution to the problem.
#1 in charge: "What should we do?"