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TOPIC: italy


Italy's Right-Wing Government Turns Up The Heat On 'Gastronationalism'

Rome has been strongly opposed to synthetic foods, insect-based flours and health warnings on alcohol, and aggressive lobbying by Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government against nutritional labeling has prompted accusations in Brussels of "gastronationalism."

ROME — On March 23, the Italian Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Francesco Lollobrigida, announced that Rome would ask UNESCO to recognize Italian cuisine as a piece of intangible cultural heritage.

On March 28, Lollobrigida, who is also Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's brother-in-law, promised that Italy would ban the production, import and marketing of food made in labs, especially artificial meat — despite the fact that there is still no official request to market it in Europe.

Days later, Italian Eurodeputy Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of fascist leader Benito Mussolini and member of the Forza Italia party, which is part of the governing coalition in Rome, caused a sensation in the European Parliament. On the sidelines of the plenary session, Sophia Loren's niece organized a wine tasting, under the slogan "In Vino Veritas," to show her strong opposition (and that of her government) to an Irish proposal to put health warnings on alcohol bottles. At the end of the press conference, around 11am, she showed her determination by drinking from the neck of a bottle of wine, to great applause.

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This Happened — May 23: A Modern Mafia Assassination

Giovanni Falcone was assassinated on this day in 1992 by the Sicilian Mafia. Falcone, his wife, and three police officers were killed in a bomb attack of their car as it was driving on a highway near the city of Palermo.

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Droughts To Floods, Italy As Poster Child Of Our Climate Emergency

Floods have hit northern Italy after the longest drought in two centuries. Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini explains how these increasingly frequent events are being exacerbated by human activity.


FAENZA By now it is undeniable: on the Italian peninsula, the climate crisis is evident in very opposing extreme events (think drought and floods), which occur close together and with increasing frequency. Until just a few days ago, almost the entire country was gripped by the longest drought in two centuries.

Now, however, extreme rainfall has hit the state of Emilia Romagna in the north of the country causing casualties and displacing over 10,000 people.

In 18 hours, the amount of rain that falls on average in a month has fallen. This has caused all rivers to overflow, flooding lowland towns and cutting off hillside towns due to landslides on many roads. Fields have become lakes and orchards that were at a crucial stage of ripening have been severely damaged.

It would be a blessing if this dreadful situation were a sporadic and isolated phenomenon, but unfortunately this is not the case.

What will happen tomorrow is unknown, yet we know it will happen.

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No Smoking When The Dottoré Is In

Our Naples-based Dottoré puts out an argument with patients during a night shift at a psychiatric ward.

There is a seemingly obvious and trivial rule that patients in a psychiatric ward have to enforce, for everyone's safety: no smoking at night.

But making sure that people understand and accept it is perhaps one of the most difficult things in our job, especially if the night is busy.

Imagine, then, an agitated patient being admitted at 2 a.m.: ambulances, hubbub, voices of people chasing each other — eventually everybody is awake, and after a while, despite things having quieted down around 3 a.m., no one can fall back to sleep. And that's when the procession starts: patient after patient knocking on my door asking for a cigarette, and a lighter.

And the night goes on, with "no" after "no" seemingly falling on deaf ears.

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This Happened

This Happened — May 13: Papal Assassination Attempt

Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to kill Pope John Paul II on this day in 1981 in St. Peter's Square.

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Alessandro Calvi

With Italy's Right In Power, A Hard Shift In The Political Lexicon

Redemption, homeland, people, and above all nation: Giorgia Meloni uses these terms to express the idea of a power projected into the future, part of a precise political strategy.


ROME — Sometimes the most striking words are the ones that are missing.

In a speech given by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the start of her mandate, for example, the word "femicide" is missing. The word "violence" appears, but only a few times, to denounce political violence. Others words are hoisted as flags by the radical right, now in power in Italy — like “nation,” a beloved word.

“If we are called to govern this nation, we will do it for everyone,” Meloni said after winning the election and becoming the country's first-ever female prime minister. "Nation,” in this sense, recurs about 15 times in her first speech. “Motherland,” on the other hand, comes up just once, in a strongly rhetorical passage addressed to law enforcement officials. The word “state” is mostly used to refer to the organization of the bureaucracy and its relationship with citizens, or in relation to the issue of security.

In Italian, the word “nation” means a collection of people who share common historical traditions, language, culture and origin, and who feel they belong to a community. The word does not necessarily imply that this community is organized into a political structure.

Instead, implicit in the idea of “homeland” (patria) is the bond between a people and the place where they live, as well as a sentimental bond with those who came before them.

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La Stampa

Florence Mayor Invites Florida Teacher Fired Over Michelangelo's "Pornographic" David Statue

The teacher lost her job because she showed an image of Michelangelo's sculpture masterpiece, which one parent described as “pornographic." On April 29, she will visit Florence and see the work in person.

FLORENCE — The former Florida art teacher who was forced to resign after parents complained about her showing images of Michelangelo's nude "David" statue will be welcomed by Florence's mayor on Saturday to counter "censorship (and) crusades."

Mayor Dario Nardella invited the former Florida Tallahassee Classical School teacher, Hope Carrasquilla, to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, which has been the seat of city politics in Florence since the Middle Ages. Though unconfirmed, the middle school teacher is also expected to pay a live visit the David, the iconic 17-foot-tall Renaissance statue, a few blocks away.

“To confuse art with pornography is ridiculous and also offensive," Nardella said. "Nudity is part of art. Kids do not need censorship or crusades, but serious education that explains what art history is and how important it is for the development of civilization."

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This Happened

This Happened — April 25: Liberation Day In Italy

On this day in 1945, Allied troops entered Milan and other major Italian cities, signaling the end of fascist rule and the Nazi occupation. The Italian resistance movement played a significant role in the liberation of the country.

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Francesco Erbani

La Periferi​a​, Changing Faces On The Forgotten Outskirts Of Italian Cities

Italian politicians often talk about the communities on the peripheries of cities as if they are filled with crime and decay, but the reality is changing before our eyes

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Mariateresa Fichele

They Grow Up So Fast

Our Neapolitan psychiatrist on Italy’s eternal “mammoni” ...

One day, Marco walked up to his parents with a serious look on his face, looked them in the eye and said: “Dear Mamma and Papà, it’s been years now that every day, you drop me off and come pick me up. That’s enough now. I’ve grown up!”

The parents were very proud, but at the same time, also a little worried. Holding back a tear, they replied that yes, it was okay, and that from the next day, Marco could go on his own.

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food / travel
Vera Mantengoli

Tourists Are About To Literally Take Over Venice

A special counter installed in Venice shows that places to sleep for visitors will literally outnumber those for locals in Venice for the first time in the coming weeks or months. Housing activists hope it will finally be a wake up call for the city.

VENICE — Tourists in Venice have always seemed to be everywhere. But now, for the first time, locals are about to be reduced to minority status.

The stunning fact for the iconic lagoon city is confirmed by a special "tourist bed counter" installed in the windows of a secondhand bookstore, MarcoPolo. As of this week, there are 48,596 beds for tourists versus 49,365 residents. At this rate, the ratio of one tourist per one resident may be just weeks away. And from there, unless something changes, tourists will eventually leave Venetians as mere extras in their own city.

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food / travel
Gabriele Romagnoli

Two-Track Nation: What Italy's Trains Say About The Limits Of Progress

Crossing Sicily by train can take as long as flying from Rome to New York. The tracks and carriages are outdated, the trains rarely leave on time. Meanwhile, the country's high-speed train lines are state-of-the-art and decidedly punctual. It's a metaphor (and more) for Italy's two-class society.


ROME — In the upscale lounges and silent carriages of the Frecciarossa high-speed train lines, which connect Rome to Milan non-stop, you can't even imagine the country's regional train lines.

They travel on another network of tracks, have different signs, are prisoners of narrower boundaries. Above all, they follow their own time schedules.

Italy is on two different time zones when traveling by rail: that of the streamlined convoys of Trenitalia and Italo that more or less respect what is promised on the departures board, and that of regional trains, which subvert all expectations by questioning not only the “when” (it will arrive) but also the “if.”

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