Italian wine leads world production, with a 4 year streak.

The chart with the top world producers and the secret of being at the top.

girl drinking wine

For the fourth consecutive year, also in 2018, Italy results to be the world top producer of wine.

Italian wine out beat once again the production from France, which has seen much better years in the past. Italy produced over 48 Millions hl of wine building up circa the 17.2% of the overall world production.

France followed closely with over 46 Millions hl of wine, representing 16%; Spain close the podium, with 40 Millions hl of wine, with the 14%.

United States reached 24 Millions hl of wine in 2018, far from the top 3, but also steadily on the 4th given the large gap to Argentina that achieved about 14 Millions hl of wine.

Then follows a long tail of countries with good productions, Australia, Chile, Germany and South Africa, following closely to the 10 Millions hl of wine per year.

Export of Italian wine have been growing almost in all the major countries importers, with the exception of Canada, which may be explained by the signatures on the CETA agreements.

And which ones are drank on Italians tables?

Italians tables see often a bottle of Chardonnay on top.

Next to it, are growing strongly some regional productions. sicilian Grillo, Primitivo from Puglia, followed by Ribolla from Friuli, Valpolicella from
Veneto, and the evergreen Chianti classico.

Silvio is back, 25 years after. Is it time for the swansong?

He’s still here, and ready to run for elections and become a member of the parliament. What does it move him still?

berlusconi smiles

It was 1994, a cold January day in Milan, and Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, rich and famous thanks to its media empire and successes as sport entrepreneur, was announcing his entrance in politics.

25 years after, again in January, he’s still here, and ready to run for elections and become a member of the parliament. This time with a little difference. Berlusconi won’t be able to get a seat in the Italian parliament anymore, due to his previous issues with justice system, therefore his focus this time will be to grab a seat at the European parliament.

berlusconi

Back by then, in 1994, he claimed it was due to the communists growth in the country. 25 years after he made it clear that its main opponents would be the grillini, so who in the Movimento 5 Stelle. Grillini is a nickname in honor to one of the founders of M5S, the comedian Beppe Grillo. The parties that most probably will be part of the right wing coalition with Berlusconi will be Lega and Fratelli d’Italia. Interesting to note that Lega is currently leading together with Movimento 5 Stelle the current government. After an election round that had seen these two parties been separated. More detailed explanation on how this happened in the previous article on Italian budget law for 2019.

Berlusconi political story is full of successes (mainly at elections) and big defeats (mainly with the justice system). His political actions have seen him trying to get the world stage in a new, some times bizarre, approach.

Friend with Putin, Bush jr. and Mu’ ammar Gheddafi, had troubles inside Europe, with attritions especially with French president of the time Sarkozi and to the still in charge German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel.

berlusconi kisses sarkozi and merkel laughs

Italians loved him and hated him. Some times more the former, others the latter. Only a few other politicians had been able to win with him at elections, when in direct challenge. Mainly Mr. Romano Prodi, who was then associated with the introduction of Euro currency in Italy at launch.

Berlusconi efforts in politics, good and bad, have been completely overshadowed by the scandals that were happening one after the others. In particular in the last years of his career in the Italian parliament.

His impact on Italian society has been tremendous. The laws called ‘ad personam’ meaning for himself, the disasters in economy, the drop in international prestige and a series of tv channels on copy of the lowest level american cable channels.

After 25 years is still ready to show to the world his unique approach to communications and style.

From the top. First picture from La Repubblica, second picture from youtube, third picture from The Telegraph

Is it going to be the ‘dolce vita” soon?

Italy and cinema, a special connection that runs since generations and with so much to say. But what do Italians prefer to watch?

sofia loren

Italy and cinema, a special connection that runs since generations with so many connections.

The italian actors and directors. Just few names: Sofia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni and Federico Fellini. Italian movies, just picking one, the spaghetti Western with Sergio Leone, the tracks of Ennio Morricone or all the actors with close Italian origins. I could start with some, like Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joe Pesci, Anjelica Huston or Frank Sinatra. But the list is so long that we’ll definitely risk to exclude someone. So best is to have a look for now at this infinite list found on Wikipedia. 

For now, just let’s have a look at the most popular movies in Italian cinemas during 2018.

1) Avengers: Infinity War
2) Bohemiam Rhapsody
3) Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
4) Fifty shades of red
5) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
6) Wonder
7) Incredibles 2
8) Coco
9) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
10) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Bohemiam Rhapsody
3) Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
4) Fifty shades of red
5) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
6) Wonder
7) Incredibles 2
8) Coco
9) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
10) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

No big surprises looking at the chart, albeit admittedly something stands up quiet clearly.

As a matter of fact, no Italian movies made it to the top 10, while Hollywood takes the entire list.

Maybe little satisfaction and curiosity, but there’s a bit of Italy still in there, and quite high in the rank.

Avengers was in fact directed by the brother Russo, Anthony & Joseph Russo, both born in Cleveland, but with clear Italian origins.

Here’s why the story behind the last supper will leave you speechless

The second Italian site to be included in the Unesco Heritage list had seriously risked of being lost in the most improbable way

the last supper from leonardo da vinci

One of the most famous painting of all time may have had the craziest story behind.

Around 1495 Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza to renovate the interior of Santa Maria delle Grazie‘s church.

Leonardo worked 4 years to produce the iconic Last Supper. A paint full of symbolism and acute messages that only a genius such as Leonardo could have thought through.

The main message is related to the reaction of the apostles when Jesus claims that someone among them will betray him soon.

Leonardo wasn’t exactly happy about the painting, in particular in the way in which the paint itself was sticking to the walls.

In the centuries after, many notable painters such as Vasari had noted the poor condition in which the paint was kept and how was almost lost all the charm.

Over times there were a few attempts of repairing it. Luckily some painters had made copy of it overtime, so it was possible to stay as close as possible to the original, albeit not always done.

But it was at the beginning of the nineteen century when the paint was really close to be destroyed forever.

Napoleon was together with his troops in Milan and all the area was under French control. Some soldiers have started using the church as a modern squatted house. Moving the area into a bivouac and using the refectory, where the Last Supper was painted, as a stable for their horses.

The paint was in absolute danger and…

..here’s how last supper story story continues…

All is ready for the 69th edition of Festival di Sanremo. Is it time for the new Bocelli?

From the 5th to the 9th of February, 2019, in the city of Sanremo, in Liguria, it will be time for ”il” Festival. The Festival.

SanRemo

From the 5th to the 9th of February, 2019, in the city of Sanremo, in Liguria, it will be time for ”il” Festival. The Festival.

Three presenters will be on the stage, Claudio Baglioni, a classic italian singer, and two actors and comedians, Claudio Bisio and Virginia Raffaele.

Twenty-four singers will be challenging in the most followed song competition in Italy since generations. Started in 1951, it was hosted every year in the sea-side location and since 1977 in the same theater, Theater Ariston.

Festival di Sanremo has been the perfect showcase and starting point for several singers who made their fortune also outside the peninsula.

Domenico Modugno won in 1958 one of his 4 awards at the festival, with the song ''Volare''

Domenico Modugno won in 1958 one of his 4 awards at the festival, with the song ”Volare”. Becoming one of the most famous and interpreted songs of all times, in a multitude of genres, with singers such as Dean Martin and the Gypsy Kings making memorable versions.

In 1986 was the time for the young Eros Ramazzotti, with the song ”Adesso tu”.

The Festival had also been a perfect opportunity for younger singers too. With two names above all probably. In 1993 Laura Pausini and in 1994 Andrea Bocelli have won the category ”giovani” (young) and kicking off worldwide fame.

This year there will be one single category, no split in between established and young singers. Not yet published the list of the foreigner guests, which has never disappointed even the pickier TV critics.

10 thousands years old art, in Camonica Valley, Italy

The very first Italian site that has been included in the World Heritage list from UNESCO confirmed this is also one of the oldest.

rock drawing Val Camonic

Italy is a land full of contrast. Starting from its age. A very young country, founded only in 1861 awith one of the oldest and richest history on earth.

The very first Italian site that has been included in the World Heritage list from UNESCO confirmed this. It was 1979 and Arte Rupestre della Val Camonica was becoming part of this prestigious list. Very much possibly among the oldest human made arts that can be found.

History says that nomad population moving in the Camonica valley, around the 8th and 6th millenium BC have found those large rocks a great area to carve and draw scenes of their lives. Hunting above all, but also plants and fruits.

Controversy on the symbol

One of the most famous drawing of this valley is the Rosa Camuna, today also used as a symbol of the Lombardy region, where Camonica valley sit. Albeit believed to be associated with a rose, in the reality this is only a modern creation, as majority of studies have associated it with the solar power and the impact of the sun on earth.

This spectacular site can be visited at

Loc. Naquane, 1, 25044 Capo di Ponte in provincia of Brescia, Italy

Italy’s historical heritage comes as full package, including the tedious too

Publio Cornelio Tacito used to say that ”Laws are many when the nation is highly corrupted” still the same today?

tiber river, history, heritage, corruption


Bureaucracy, and public administration, the guardians of a country efficiency; what should allow both society and economy to run on safe path, growing towards their specific objectives, may be their main obstacle.

The results of a study from Cgia of Mestre – Venice, Italy, based on European commission data according to ansa.it were quite clear. And its index too.

The index looks, at quality of services offered by the public administration in 19 countries of European Union, and rank them after a quite techincial scoring. This rank sees Italy as the second last country. Down at the bottom. Only Greece does worst. The country very well known for having suffered (and still partially) high stress on its society due to the collapse of its economy.

On top of the chart instead Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Costs and hopes

The overall costs of this inefficiency is about 31 Billion Euro for Italy alone.
There’s multiple reasons the keep this poor standard of public administration. One explanation seem connected to a cultural mindset that facilitates this. Already in the second century A.D., the Roman senator as Publio Cornelio Tacito used to say that ”Laws are many when the nation is highly corrupted” to define how bureaucracy and a corrupted system was weakening the potential power of Rome.

Also today, public administrators looking for opportunities from their power and the finances they administer, are the main obstacles to the growth.

The political system doesn’t seem to oppose as seems almost colluded. Keeping the complex system that doesn’t allow changes to the status quo, keeping comfortably stable the position.

A slow machine that lose energy from the inside, and doesn’t find a way to fix it.

‘The Dying Town’ that still survives

An historical village dating back over 2500 years. But we don’t know how many years still will last.

Civita the view

In 1972 officially it officially started a UNESCO agreement that was aiming to put under one single document the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. As part of it, the United Nations agency started building a list of the most important sites in the world, the World Heritage List

Italy is the country that owns the most, with 54 sites in total. Those places are tangible ways to recognize what Italy as a country and thanks to its handmade pieces of art is giving to the world, as ever lasting heritage.

The 54 sites are a long varied list and ListenItaly.com, to celebrate the beauties of Italy will propose them. One a day, for the next 54 days. One daily sweet pill of absolute beauty and charm.

To celebrate this great initiative starting very soon, today we go and look at one site that is actually off this list, but probably should.

Civita

This is the city of Civita

Civita is a section of Bagnoreggio municipality, included in provincia of Viterbo, in Lazio region. It’s an historical village that dates back over 2500 years. But we don’t know how many years still will last.

Today, Civita can be reached only through a dock built in 1965. It’s for pedestrian only, the 16 inhabitants of Civita and for the brave tourists that dare to cross it.

Civita lies on a hill that is constantly eroding and reducing its width. The constant erosion puts it at high risk of survival in the future.

The legendary story of the bell tower emerging from a lake

One of the most fascinating and surreal scenarios, in the hearth of the Alps.

curon venosta in summer

A bell tower emerges a few meter from the water of a deep alpine lake.

What an incredible scenario in front of the eyes of the lucky ones who have been able to visit Curon Venosta, in the north Italian region of South Tyrol, in provincia of Bolzano.

But how did this happen?

The beautiful Lago di Resia was created in the early 50s, artificially with the creation of a dike to build a reservoir for the production of electricity. In order to create it, two villages, Curon and Resia, previously inhabited by few hundred villagers, were abandoned and all the houses taken down to the ground.

alps

Only the tower bell of the village, campanile della Chiesa di Santa Caterina was left standing, because considered an historical monument.

And resisted from the water, leaving the top emerging and one of the most fascinating and surreal scenarios.

When in Winter, the lake freeze and can be visited just walking to it. Some says the bells are still jingling. Albeit having being removed just few days before the lake was created.

The world largest sausage party, it starts today the official ‘Giro d’Italia delle salsiccie’

From all over Italy, there will be in display and to taste, the best of the national production. From Sicily to Friuli, from Piedmont down to Puglia. All the possible varieties of the oldest and famous of the sausages will be available at Fico Eataly World of Bologna.

sausages on fair for Giro d'Italia delle Salsiccie

Everything is ready, on Saturday 13th January will start the world greatest sausage fair, and will last till the 27th of the month.

Officially ”Giro d’Italia delle salsiccie” will run for 2 weeks of uninterrupted eating and partying, with the taste of the great Italian sausages. Salsiccie.

From all over Italy, there will be in display and to taste, the best of the national production. From Sicily to Friuli, from Piedmont down to Puglia. All the possible varieties of the oldest and famous of the sausages will be available at Fico Eataly World of Bologna.

Spicy, sweets, with pepper and with honey, beef, pork, dry and wet. Anything you can think of with the best Italian meat.

Bologna, Italy landscape

The show will be supported also by an historical car show from Club Bologna Autostoriche and kids games.

Something definitely not to be missed, in case you pass by Bologna this January.