An eventful February, all across Italy.

A lot going on across Italy during February, with several concerts and shows, and a pinch of sport that never goes bad. If you happen to be in the peninsula during the shortest month of the year, you may don’t want to miss this!

On the 16th and 17th of February, there's the Men and Women World Cup of Cross Country in Cogne (Aosta Valley)

Have a look at February and entire 2019 Calendar

A lot going on across Italy during February, with several concerts and shows, and a pinch of sport that never goes bad.

If you happen to be in the peninsula during the shortest month of the year, you may don’t want to miss this!

Last week in Italy, here’s what you need to know

Discover the most important facts in a nutshell.
This was a very full week, with some memorable events and returns.

rocks of Matera, european capital of culture in 2019

Week 3rd of the calendar has been a very hectic period in the Italian peninsula.

Monday – Former terrorist and his forced return to Italy

  • Cesare Battisti is a former terrorist of the 70s in extreme left view groups. He had participated and led activities which brought to the dead of at least for persons, and was therefore arrested. He escaped jail and Italy in 1981 after been condemned for 12 years, has been arrested in Bolivia this week and returned to Italian jails this Monday 14th of January.
  • Battisti lived abroad all those years, covered by political asylum in France and then in Brazil, writing books and essays. In Brazil he had already been jailed, then left out for willing of the government.
  • The new Brazilian government, with president Bolsonario, decided to remove any political asylum and Battisti had escaped the country to Bolivia. Where after a few weeks of investigation was arrested. In a few days back to Italy, detained in the jail of Oristano, in the beautiful island of Sardinia.

Tuesday – Earthquake shakes the land

  • An earthquake of 4.6 of magnitude, had been localized at 11km east of Ravenna. In Emilia Romagna. The shake was well felt also in Bologna.
  • No major damages, nor injured luckily.

Thursday – Silvio is back. Risks of being the last swansong are quite high.

  • Silvio Berlusconi declared he’ll run for the spring elections for the European Parliament. Not being able to run in his own country, having lost his eligibility due to recent issues with the justice, he has opted for the continental stage.
  • Predictions aren’t looking good, but experts know he is known to come back in the latest weeks. Some says that there’s no chance and will be a fiasco.

Friday – National Basic income rules are ready

  • The introduction of a National Basic income, which was strongly supported by Movimento 5 Stelle has become law as part of the 2019 Budget.
  • The rules have been clarified:
    • Must have an income of less than 780 euro per month and will make sure that who earns less will at least reach this basic level of income. If someone earns 200 euro per month, will receive 580 and so on.
    • The income is deposited on a special card, from Poste Italiane.
    • Who owns apartments, houses or have different sources of wealth won’t be able to receive any income and strong sanctions have been introduced to avoid any fraud.

Saturday – Matera starts the day as capital of European culture

  • Opening ceremony for the year of Matera, the European cultural capital of 2019, with the presence of all the main Italian authorities, starting from the President of the Republic.
  • A fundamental year for the city of rocks, ready to get the important stage and promote its beauties and history with a series of countless events.

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.

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.

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.

Pasta, dove sei? (Pasta, where are you?)

Pasta. Is it really and truly an Italian food?

Pasta. Nothing that sounds more Italian. Maybe just pizza, but we already spoke about that.

As everything that seems pure Italian, as in the reality foreign origins and has afterwards been adopted and also in old times marketed as Italian specific delicacy.

spaghetti as made in Italy

A population of travelers can get inspired

Think about Cappuccino and its origin, which seems to be more Austrian than from the boot shaped country.

Pasta isn’t different to this, and although everyone has now recognized that Marco Polo story wasn’t that real, pasta has still roots elsewhere.

Noodles as made in China

2 countries seems to be the real starting points. China and Greece, and its probably from the latter that whole get started.

Greeks had invaded the south of Italy before Romans came up and Etrurians (a pre-roman population too, a quite strong albeit unknown one) were known to eat pasta or similar one.

And how is doing now?

Over the years pasta has evolved, gaining more and more the status of an healthy, basic food. New types emerged and among them one which has quite good success. Gluten free legume pasta.

If you have tried it already or you haven’t yet. Well this article HERE, will reveal you something that may really surprise you. For good.

2019 Events in Italy, the calendar

2019 full events!
Here’s a selection of main ones, which will be constantly updated, also with monthly summaries.

2019 Events in Italy, the calendar

A 2019 full events that will ensure that no one will get bored while in Italy.

Scroll down to the see the events for each month, and stay tuned as there will be constant updates!

January

February

  • 3rd of February the Good Charlotte are in concert at Alcatraz, in Milan
  • 3rd of February of evening football with A.S. Roma Vs. A.C. Milan, at Stadio Olimpico in Rome
  • From the 5th to the 9th of February is time for Festival di Sanremo: the legendary music festival, not at its 69th edition
  • 6th of February with the Massive Attack at Mediolanum Forum in Milan
  • On the 8th and 9th of February, you can taste great wine at Buy wine & anteprime di Toscana in Fortezza da Basso, on Florence outskirt
  • From the 6th to the 9th of February, there’s Torino Digital Days, digital media conference, in Turin
  • On the 9th of February at 5:45pm, there’s Italy versus Wales, from Stadio Flaminio in Rome, for the 6 Nations cup of rugby
  • From the 10th to 12th of February, there’s BIT (Borsa Internazionale del Turismo), the international fair of tourism and travel, in Milano
  • 11th of February are the Snow Patrol on stage at Fabrique in Milan
  • From the 16th of February till March 5th there’s the Carnival in Venice and its incredible masks through city and channels.
  • On the 16th and 17th of February, there’s the Men and Women World Cup of Cross Country in Cogne (Aosta Valley)
  • From the 19th to the 25th of February is time for Milano Fashion week with the Autumn/Winter collection
  • On the 24th February is election day in Sardinia, with the Election for the regional government
  • On the 24th of February there’s Italy v Ireland of rugby, for the 6 Nations cup 2019. From Stadio Flaminio in Rome.

March

  • 1 March Ozzy Osbourne in concert in Casalecchio di Reno (Bo),

April

  • 1 April ABBA DREAM – The Ultimate Abba Tribute Show from Milano, Teatro Nazionale CheBanca
  • 5 April Amy McDonald in concert from Milano, Teatro Dal Verme
  • 9-14 April: Salone del Mobile: in Milano, 5 days furniture design expo with parties across the city.
  • 30 April: Rita Ora in concert in Milano, Fabrique

May

  • 4 May: ABBA DREAM – The Ultimate Abba Tribute Show in Montecatini, Teatro Verdi Montecatini –
  • 7 May: Tokio Hotel in concert in Milano, Fabrique
  • 8 May: Dido in concert in Milano, Teatro degli Arcimboldi
  • 8 May: Metallica in concert in Milano, Ippodromo Snai San Siro – Milano Summer Festival –
  • 9 May: Tokio Hotel in concert in Roma, Atlantico
  • 10 May: Tokio Hotel in concert in Bologna, Estragon
  • 11 May: Lenny Kravitz in concert in Assago (Mi), Mediolanum Forum
  • 12 May: Lenny Kravitz in concert in Casalecchio di Reno (Bo), Unipol Arena
  • 11.May to the 24.November: Biennale in Venice,
  • 15 May: Backstreet Boys concert in Milano
  • 26 May: Regional Election in Piemonte and Basilicate. Election for European Parliament.
  • 29 e 30 May: 2019 Elton John in concert in Verona, Arena
  • 31 May: – 2 June MotoGP race in Mugello

June

  • 2 June: Imagine Dragons in concert in Firenze, Visarno Arena
  • 13-16 June – Firenze Rocks: 2019 rock music festival in Firenze with Ed Sheeran, The Cure, i Tool and Smashing Pumpkins
  • 14 June Ed Sheeran in concert in Firenze, Visarno Arena – Firenze Rocks
  • 15-18 June: Milano Fashion Week (man) Spring/Summer 2020
  • 16 June Ed Sheeran in concert in Roma, Stadio Olimpico
  • 16 June The Cure in concert in Firenze, Ippodromo del Visarno
  • 19 June Ed Sheeran in concert in Milano, Stadio San Siro
  • 27 June Slipknot in concert in Bologna, Parco Nord – Bologna Sonic Park
  • 28 June Take That in concert in Lucca, Piazza Napoleone – Lucca Summer Festival
  • 29 June Take That in concert in Roma, Cavea Auditorium Parco della Musica

July

  • 3 July 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in Roma, Cavea dell’Auditorium Parco della Musica
  • 4 July 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in Padova, Gran Teatro Geox
  • 6 July 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in Pistoia, Pistoia Blues Festival
  • 7 July 30 Seconds to Mars in concert in Barolo, Collisioni festival
  • 7 July 2019 Elton John in concert in Lucca, Piazza Napoleone – Lucca Summer Festival – ELTON JOHN
  • 7 July Slayer in concert in Villafranca di Verona, Castello Scaligero – Rock The Castle –
  • 7 July James Morrison in concert in Gardone Riviera, Anfiteatro del Vittoriale – Tener-a-mente Festival
  • 9 July Macklemore in concert in Lucca, Piazza Napoleone – Lucca Summer Festival
  • 10 July Macklemore in concert in Barolo, Piazza Colbert – Collisioni Festival –
  • 12 July Muse in concert in Milano, Stadio San Siro
  • 13 July Muse in concert in Milano, Stadio San Siro
  • 20 July Muse in concert in Roma, Stadio Olimpico
Elton John in concert in Italy this summer

August

  • 29 August to 7 September: Venice Film Festival

September

  • 8th September.: Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monza (MB)
  • 13-15 September: MotoGP race in Misano (San Marino GP)
  • 17-23 September 2019: Milano Fashion Week (woman): Spring/Summer 2020
  • 23 September: Michael Buble in concert in Assago, Mediolanum Forum
  • 24 September: Michael Buble in concert in Assago, Mediolanum Forum

October

  • TBD – EuroChocolate in Perugia
  • 17-27 October – Rome Movie Festival

November

  • TBD – EuroChocolate in Perugia
  • 17-27 October – Rome Movie Festival

December

  • TBD

Italian car market, not only Ferrari (& who’s in the lead?)

The status of the car market in Italy, the directions and the top 10 of 2018.

Fiat 500

2018 has been a mild year for the Italian car market with slight grow, just above 4% on 2017 and with a strong decrease towards the end of the year.

Decrease becoming strong in particular for the car powered by diesel, as restrictions and limitations to circulate are getting tougher in several Italian cities due to anti-pollution regulations.

Still solid instead the second hand market, justified by a decrease in recent years of purchase power and to a improved reliability of the vehicles offered in this segment of the car market.

The government is coming in help of the industry, thinking of new economical support to who purchases a new car, in particular electric ones. There’s a long debate around this, and in particular why electric cars haven’t started kicking in yet, in the country where a liter of gasoline costs more than in any other European country, with the exception at times of the Netherlands.

In any case, here below the top 10 most sold car in Italy in 2018. Number 1 may not surprise you though.

  • 10 – VOLKSWAGEN POLO 
  • 9 – VOLKSWAGEN GOLF 
  • 8 – LANCIA YPSILON 
  • 7 – CITROEN C3 
  • 6 – RENAULT CLIO 
  • 5 – FORD FIESTA
  • 4 – FIAT TIPO 
  • 3 – FIAT 500X
  • 2 – FIAT 500
  • 1 – FIAT PANDA 
fiat panda

Reference, some of the data used are published by the prestigious Italian news agency ansa.it at the following link

Football, money and a match for human rights.

Football match of human right one. Let’s figure out now what to wait the 16th for..

On January 16th, in Jedda, Saudi Arabia there will be the match of Italian SuperCup in between Juventus and A.C. Milan. The winner of last year Serie A, versus the winner, albeit in this case runner up of the National cup. Runner up, as Juventus won both competitions and needed an opponent.

Milan supporters

As this prologue suggests, the match may not be the most interesting one, given the distance still clear in between the two teams in terms of shape and skills. Juventus is a giant, in Italy and Europe, since almost 10 years in a row. A.C.Milan instead, hardly remember the joy of the past 20 years.

This match may become more memorable instead for the human aspects and in particular on the role of the woman in Saudi.

Italian politicians for once with one single view

As a matter of fact, Italian politicians, from right to left, have suggested the possibility to have the match played elsewhere, given the restriction to women to visit the stadium. Two of the figures more far in the political landscape, Mr. Salvini, currently Inner Minister, with far-right view and Mrs. Boldrini, far-left wing and previously head of the senate, have vowed together against the choice from the Football Association of having the SuperCup hosted in Saudi Arabia.

muslim woman

In the meantime instead, Saudi government is keen to allow women visiting the stadium alone, without a partner. Which in the Islamic country seems to be a radical change of habit.

The debate continues and seems to move away the attention from the sport event, and more on topic related to basic human rights. The push from Italian politicians may actually have for once a much broader range of actions, amplifying the voices inside the countries against the limited freedom given to women in Saudi.

The Science of Pizza

Here’s why pizza is really the most eaten food. And why it’s not always a good thing having so many varieties.

Pizza, probably the most loved food in the world. Definitely one with more varieties anyone could think of.

Surprisingly, also quite a topic when it comes to science. Several publications about pizza  with over 420.000 results when searching pizza in GoogleScholar, the Google scientific portal.

In this first article it’s debated if Is it really good to have so many types of Pizza?

A study published on PlosOne, So Many Brands and Varieties to Choose from: Does This Compromise the Control of Food Intake in Humans?
(more info in the references)

The effects of dietary variability in pepperoni pizza on two key outcome variables; i) compensation for calories in pepperoni pizza and ii) expectations about the satiating properties of pepperoni pizza (expected satiation). We reasoned that dietary variability might generate uncertainty about the postingestive effects of a food.

How long an acceptable menu could be…..

An internet-based questionnaire was completed by 199 adults. This revealed substantial variation in exposure to different varieties of pepperoni pizza. In a follow-up study (n= 66; 65% female), high pizza variability was associated with i) poorer compensation for calories in pepperoni pizza and ii) lower expected satiation for pepperoni pizza.

So, next time you are in front of a menu and are celebrating for the great variety of choice… well, think twice!

Here’s why pizza is really the most eaten food

As part of a survey, for the scientific article: Lifestyle and Dietary Behaviors among Saudi Preschool Children Attending Primary Health Care Centers, Eastern Saudi Arabia (with more info and links at in the reference at the bottom of the page) researchers ran a survey with 300 kids and those were the shocking results..Unsatisfactory areas include smoking fathers (32%), smoking in front of children (11.3%), overweight and obesity among mothers (60.3%), noncompliance using seat belts for both parents (56.3%) and children (68%), children watching television (T.V) more than 2 hours (50%), adherence to exclusive breast feeding (only 20.7%), and late solid food introduction (65.3%).

Think what you eat and think as you eat

Frequent intake of unhealthy food items was 26%, 25%, and 24% for pizza, burger, and soft drinks. Unfortunately frequent intake of the following unhealthy food items was high: biscuits, deserts/chocolates, and chips which was 78%, 67%, and 72%, respectively. 
Conclusion. This study provides benchmark about the current situation. It provides health care workers and decision makers with important information that may help to improve health services.

favorite food ever pizza sweet soda and chip - paint from kids

What more impresses is the combination of unhealthy behavior and how they reflect on children approach to food!

Want to know what scientists think about? look up here

References:
• Wiktionary, the free dictionary: https://en.wiktionary.org with Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)
• Hindawi publishing: Lifestyle and Dietary Behaviors among Saudi Preschool Children Attending Primary Health Care Centers, Eastern Saudi Arabia, Magdy A. Darwish, Ghadeer Al-Saif, Suha Albahrani, and Amr A. Sabra – International Journal of Family Medicine, with Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
• PlosOne publishing: So Many Brands and Varieties to Choose from: Does This Compromise the Control of Food Intake in Humans? Charlotte A. Hardman, Danielle Ferriday, Lesley Kyle, Peter J. Rogers, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom – with Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)