Web-wise April 23-30

Italian practice: just say no test • Vespa Tours in Tuscany • Almamegretta: video file • Weekend Travel Guide

Vespa Tours in Tuscany
Four-star tours of wine country on a Vespa — when you’ve already done it all…

Almamegretta: video file
Check out six videos from this roots Neapolitan band’s latest works….

Italian practice: just say no test
Find out your push-over quotient with this interactive quiz

Weekend Travel Guide
Bike itineraries, spas, art towns, sun & sand…Plenty of good ideas for short trips in the Bel Paese

Web-wise April 16-23

Italian practice: free slang dictionary • Design week round up • Italians interned in Soviet Gulag: online memory project • Pino Daniele: sample new album

Italian practice: latest in slang
This newsweekly has set about compiling an up-to-the-minute slang dictionary with the help of readers. Click on links mid-right for the sections…

Design week round up
Get an eyeful of new design trends from over 1, 950 companies at Milan’s Salone del Mobile…

Pino Daniele: sample new album
Neapolitan singer/songwriter Daniele’s latest effort "concerto" serves up live tracks & two new songs — listen to "un cielo senza nuvole" here.

Italians in the Soviet Gulag
After 10 years of sifting through thousands of documents on Italian political prisoners in the Soviet Union, this site brings to light a little-known chapter in history. Database searchable by name or in alphabetical order of 960 Italian victims and a map of the lagers where Italians were interned.

Mafia Boss Gets Life Sentence, Thanks to Movie

In an unusual case of life influenced by art, Mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti was condemned to life for killing Peppino Impastato, the subject of award-winning film “The hundred steps.”
The case, which dates back to 1978, was reopened after the film debuted in 2000.

Impastato, son of a Mafia member, ran a one-man protest against organized crime with a local newspaper, radio programs and a political party in Cinisi, province of Palermo.
First stoned to death, his body was then exploded on the Palermo-Trapani train lines. For over 20 years, the death was improbably covered up as an failed terrorist attack by Impastato.
"Finally that assassin will pay for his crimes," said Impastato’s mother Felicia Bartolotta. "My son was no terrorist and he was killed in a horrible manner."
Badalamenti, currently serving time in the US for drug trafficking, refused the offer of a videoconference for the sentence. ?1999-2004 zoomata.com

Zoomata is the brainchild of a bilingualjournalist based in Italy who thinks out of the box. This brain is for hire.

Related resources:

The non-profit for documentation on the Mafia in Impastato’s name.

The film "I Cento Passi" by Marco Tullio Giordana

Sex advice? Ask the nuns online

If those who can’t, teach — the Benedictine nuns who give advice on sex and marriage have an advantage over other counselors. The nuns in Angri, province of Salerno, have set up an Internet site with illustrations of the reproductive cycle, abortion and contraceptives including the day-after pill and female condoms.

“Sexuality is one of the most potent and enriching energies people have,” declares the home page. The nuns also organize premarital courses and sexual Ed for adolescents as well as information on the Billings Ovulation Method for family planning.

While the information given is clearly in line with the Catholic Church, the site made news for the explicit nature of the explanations as well as an otherwise modern outlook on eros — "because sexuality is a fundamental component of (one’s) personality and a way of experiencing human love." ?1999-2004 zoomata.com

Zoomata is the brainchild of a bilingualjournalist based in Italy who thinks out of the box. This brain is for hire.

Related resources:

From 19-21 April — Italy’s largest sex fair…At press time the nuns didn’t have a booth

Silvio Berlusconi Makes Music

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is warming up the vocal chords for a benefit record.
Once a cruise-ship crooner, the billionaire Berlusconi will be teaming up with Tony Renis (of “Quando, Quando Quando” fame) for a UNICEF record. Berlusconi will pen lyrics and sing on a yet unspecified number of tracks.

The appeal? Italians have long been fascinated with the chirpier aspects of the politician’s personality: last year he was the subject of a musical satire “Berlusconi Sings,” and countless times has promised to let out a few notes on TV only to pull out at the last minute. Renis and Berlusconi have been friends for over 30 years, when the two played in rival piano bars on the island of Elba.


A taste? Click on “audio” for two satirical songs ‘sung’ by Berlusconi

Gypsy Culture Course at Italian University

"Learn and free your mind," was the introductory note from Santino Spinelli, the first Rom professor to teach gypsy culture in Europe.
The new course at the University of Trieste will give a closer look at a misunderstood segment of the Italian population.
Spinelli, born in Pietrasanta di Lucca (Abruzzo), grew up asking for alms then studied at Language and Letters at the University of Bologna.

"There are 120,000 Italian Roms," said Spinelli, a poet and accordion player who also heads up the band Alexian Group. "Previously they had two options — either be assimilated or emarginated. My choice is a third option: to remain profoundly Rom, without losing the cultural characteristics, but take an active role in society."
The course, part of the intercultural studies department, is divided into two sections: the history of gypsies and the history of the serenade in Abruzzi Rom. The Rom group in Abruzzo, in Italy since the 1300s, is the oldest in the country.

Music sample "Echi d’oriente" & poetry by Spinelli.

Italy by Numbers: Staying at Home

+371, 000 new jobs (2001)
70% of 29-year-old Italian men live with parents
+7% increase in 30-34 year olds living at home
1 unfortunate court ruling for parents

Italian parents must support their children until they find jobs which are ‘adequate’ to the ambitions and education of offsprings, an Italian court ruled. An exasperated father, still passing a monthly check for about $750 to a 29-year-old son with a law degree, was ordered to keep up the payments until the lad found a ‘suitable’ job.
Although ISTAT data shows a hearty increase in new jobs and the lowest unemployment levels since 1993 (9.1%), parents hoping to shove kids out of the nest will likely be disheartened at the "adequate job" part of the court ruling.
"A university degree isn’t magic ticket that absolves them from duty," said author and philosopher Luciano De Crescenzo."Who says, in any case, that being an actor is more dignified than being a clerk? The court has made a mistake — the criteria to judge a person are very different."

Living, Working & Studying in Italy
No parents to help out? Try this guide…

Web wise April 9-16

Undercover spring fashions from La Perla • Official Pompeii site Gets English Version • Italian practice: Travel with Simona • Notre Dame de Paris: Cocciante’s Musical comes ‘home’

Undercover spring fashions from La Perla
The latest in what’s on underneath it all from the popular lingerie co..

Official Pompeii site Gets English Version
The government’s guide to one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions finally has an English version.. Get past the ‘earthquake’ intro for a fascinating story of restoration of a fresco, the inside story of the erotic baths, visit the applied research lab and have your kids shown around by Caius in the funky flash tour…

Italian practice: Travel with Simona
Follow this 27-year-old MTV producer as she travels around the world. Forum, photos, stories.

Notre Dame de Paris: the Musical by Cocciante comes ‘home’
After touring the world, Riccardo Cocciante’s musical hit comes to Italy. Click on "disco" to compare tracks from the English, French & Italian versions.

Couple Weds After 62-Year Engagement

After over 60 years together, two Italian retirees finally tied the knot breaking a record in a country known for long engagements.
Annibale Labò had proposed to Bianca Castellana in 1940, but the two never quite got around to calling the preacher, despite having lived together since 1941.

Bianca, 79, determined to walk down the aisle, asked Annibale to marry her last week. The octogenarian immediately accepted.
Italian couples are prone to long engagements (averaging almost five years) and the trend seems to be lengthening. 2001 figures were a year longer than in 1987, (3.9 years) and living together is still a rarity, with only 4% of couples shacking up before the rice is thrown.
"I’m very happy," said new bride Bianca. "I hope not to die from joy!"

Abbondanza: Planning an Italian Wedding
Because it’s never too late…

Italy by Numbers: Snapshot of the Country

Italy by Numbers: Snapshot of the Country

27 million: Italians in 1870
56 million: Italians 2001
45.5% live in North
24.2% South
18.9% Central Italy
11.4% Islands
for every 1,000 Italians = 17.5 resident foreigners

Initial results for Italy’s 14th census are almost two months late — and arrived amid claims that entire towns either never received or never returned the 11-page poll. The results show a steady, if shrinking population at about 56.8 million people. Families also decreased to 2.6 members — down slightly from 2.8 in the 1991 census — but almost half the size of postwar families composed of 4.2 members.
The number of families is increasing (from around 19 million to 21 million since 1991) as more one-person families or single-parent families are created. As a result there are also considerably more houses, more telephones and television sets.
While the immigrant population is growing (tripled since the last census), Italy still has one of the lowest ratio of nationals to foreigners: 1.7% compared to Germany’s 9%. National statistics agency ISTAT plans to release final figures in 2003.

Wade through the preliminary results.