Italy Travel News: February 10 – February 19

Here’s a round-up of the latest Italy travel news and information for February 10 through February 19:

  • ‘Not racist’ to call black person orangutan
    I love you, Italy – I really do – but when your senate actually declares that calling a black person an orangutan is "NOT RACIST," I want to slap you upside the head.
  • Eye on Italy Episode 59: Understanding the Italian Mafias with John Dickie
    The latest episode of the Eye on Italy podcast is one my favorites yet – I had many more questions than we could fit into the space of a 20-minute interview, and I'm thrilled we had a chance to speak to such an authority on the complex and fascinating world of the Italian mafias.
  • Medici Greek bronze undergoes restoration before exhibition
    A gorgeous Greek bronze horse, dating from 350 B.C.E. and once owned by the Medici family, is undergoing restoration – and the restoration work is being done in Florence's Archaeological Museum, as an exhibit visitors can watch through March 8.
  • Another Gastro Gaffe? Chef Carlo Cracco’s Scandalous Sugo all’Amatriciana
    Wanna know how seriously Italians take their food? One celebrated Italian chef is being lambasted in the media for daring to suggest garlic could be added to amatriciana sauce.
  • Forestry corps seizes ‘fake’ pasta
    "Made in Italy" is a big deal. Italian forestry corps officials reported seizing pasta being advertised as "produced using durum wheat from Puglia," when the wheat actually came from North America. So – not "fake pasta," exactly, but certainly false advertising.
  • Verona Juliet statue stuffed full of love letters
    Verona is famous as the setting for "Romeo & Juliet," and one of the city's most visited attractions is the so-called "Juliet's House" (nevermind that the balcony is a much later addition). The bronze statue of Juliet that stands in the courtyard had suffered so much over the years – from the elements and visitors – that she's been replaced with a new casting. And when artists were refurbishing the old one for display inside the museum, they found it full of love letters.
  • Feyenoord fans damage Barcaccia fountain
    I'm a soccer fan, so I hate it when other followers of The Beautiful Game behave in such a disgraceful fashion. Fans of the Dutch Feyenoord team, in town to play AS Roma, completely trashed parts of the city – including the famous fountain at the base of the Spanish Steps. It's depressing, and reflects poorly on both soccer fans and the Dutch.
  • Why No One Goes to Naples
    This (depressing) piece by Beppe Severgnini is almost a year old – I found it in my archive of "stuff to read later" – and I'm left wondering how many of the statistics he cites are still true… It's a shame, too, given how gorgeous the south is, and how culturally rich.
  • Plans for Milan ‘Prostitution Zone’ Gain Cross-Party Support
    Both Milan and Rome are moving toward experimenting with official "red light districts." Prostitution is legal in Italy, but unregulated, and it's illegal to operate a brothel.
  • Costa Concordia captain sentenced to 16 years in prison
    After a nearly two-year trial, the captain who was at the helm when the Costa Concordia capsized off the Tuscan coast has been convicted of manslaughter (32 people died) and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

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