Tag Archive | Italy

Bella Napoli, Castel Dell’Ovo Art Exhibit

I went downtown this morning because I was supposed to man the desk at Castel Dell’Ovo for the “One Mind One Heart” art exhibition. Due to some translation issues I didn’t have to stay the whole time. So anyways, these pictures are from this morning, Sunday, before most crowds and people selling crap were all out and about…so it looks nice.

Visit my flickr account for my art pictures and details from the show: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennybusch

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Busted Garbage Traffickers and Recovered Stolen Sphinx News

Garbage traffickers busted outside Naples

 

(ANSA) – Rome, Dec. 6 – Police outside Naples uncovered 21,000 tons of unregistered garbage and arrested two people for alleged illegal trafficking and fraud, including the CEO of a front company. The bust took place in the town of Agropoli, where police said the garbage traffickers had made 240 million euros over the course of seven years by masquerading as legitimate trash-disposal firms and filing taxes for trash incinerators that did not exist. Police seized 14 million euros in assets.

 

Italian police recover stolen Egyptian sphinx

(AFP) – Rome, Dec. 6 – Italian police on Thursday said they had recovered a 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx statue that was stolen from a necropolis near Rome and was about to be smuggled out of the country.

“The investigation began with a random check of an industrial vehicle during which police found a decorative ceramic object from an excavation as well as many photos of the Egyptian sculpture,” the police said in a statement.

A search of the driver’s residence turned up the statue from the Ptolemaic era (4th-1st centuries BC) packed into a crate and hidden in a greenhouse.

The statue is believed to have been stolen from the Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum near Viterbo, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Rome.

The police “prevented the sculpture, as well as a series of ancient objects from being put on the clandestine international market,” the statement said.

The granite statue measures 120 centimeters and 60 centimeters.

Egyptian sculptures began to be shipped to Italy following the Roman conquest of Egypt in the 1st century BC.

Italian News Clips

This is about the storm we drove through on Veteran’s day…

THREE MORE KILLED BY ITALY FLOODS, HUNDREDS EVACUATED

(Reuters) – Florence, Nov. 13 – Two men and a woman were killed when their car fell off a collapsed bridge in Tuscany on Tuesday, as floods battered central Italy for a third straight day.
In all four people have died in flooding that forced part of the country’s main north-south highway to close and has damaged many homes and shops as well as thousands of acres of farmland.
Tuscany was particularly badly affected, with 800 people evacuated from their homes in the village of Albinia, thousands left without electricity and several towns isolated by swamped roads. The main A-1 highway was closed in parts of the region.
Floods in the Tuscan district of Massa Carrara had caused 10 million euros ($13 million) of damage, according to Italian agricultural group Coldiretti, to farms, crops and olive groves.
The Tiber river burst its banks north of the capital of Rome as heavy rain moved south, flooding factories and homes near the ancient town of Orte.
“Even if you listen to the oldest inhabitants this has never happened before,” said Orte resident Luca Seccese. “It has completely destroyed us.”
The center of Rome was kept safe by high embankment walls and because there had been no heavy rain there for two days.
Water levels were receding in Venice, the lagoon city and UNESCO World Heritage Site that at the weekend saw its sixth-highest water levels since records began in 1872.
St Mark’s Square, one of the lowest lying areas of the city, where some tourists were able to swim in high water on Sunday, was returning to normal, a city official said.

ITALY NEEDS TO SHORE UP DEFENSE AGAINST NATURAL DISASTERS

(ANSA) – Rome, Nov. 13 – Investments are required in a “serious program” aimed at shoring up defenses in areas at risk of flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters, in order to prevent “this country from falling apart more than it already is,” the head of Italy’s national civil protection agency said Tuesday.

Such a program would also help prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths every time an extreme natural phenomenon strikes, Franco Gabrielli said. Italians also have to start taking more responsibility in the way they attempt to counter damage caused by natural disasters, including respecting building codes and not constructing in geographically risky areas, Gabrielli said. Referring to extreme weather incidents, such as recent rains which dumped up to 40 centimeters of water in some areas of Tuscany in just over 48 hours, Gabrielli said that these rains “impacted an area whose fragility is very well-known and where people built where they shouldn’t have built”. “The real challenge,” Gabrielli said, is to carry out significant – although not necessarily massive – investments in shoring up risky areas. Separately, Gabrielli also made a call for more private coverage of weather-related damages, saying that State can’t be expected to foot the bill for all types of natural disaster-induced damage and that people need to get their own private insurance coverage.

The only solution against damage caused by flooding, earthquakes and natural catastrophes is for citizens to be forced to purchase insurance, Gabrielli said. “It’s time to wake up to the fact that the State, considering its resources, is no longer able to offer, in an equal manner, adequate answers from a rebuilding point of view”.

Gabrielli also criticized his countrymen’s “not in my backyard” mindset when it comes to issues like garbage disposal, pointing out how Italians don’t recycle.

Italy sends garbage across borders, where it is burned and generates electricity which is subsequently sold. By doing this, Gabrielli said, Italy is missing an opportunity and shipping wealth out of the country.

Taken from NSA PAO, November 14, 2012

Innsbruck and Munich Road Trip

(I am getting the pictures taken by my road trip mates sometime this week, so check back for extra pictures later on)

So we had a long four day weekend road trip for Veteran’s Day (I only had a three day weekend, but called in sick to make mine four). We road tripped with three work friends of ours. We left Thursday after we all got off work. We drove up to Vicenza for the night (it’s a little west of Venice). There is an army base there, so we stayed at their lodge. Then we woke up and drove to Innsbruck, Austria through the snow-capped Alps. It is a nice little mountain town where people come for skiing and such when the season is right. We spent a day and a half there and wandered about. We found the tiniest “speck” (bacon) shop in the world, located in Innsbruck. There is the owner behind a tiny little piece of counter and enough room for only two people at a time to go in. We tried to find the shop the night before, but it was closed. There was a vent that fanned out the sweet smell of smoked meats into the street so it was mandatory that we go back the next day. And success, we did, it was delicious…wild boar and speck. We found a liquor store where you could sample fine liquors and fill up your own bottles with the random flavors you like. Justin and I got a peach schnapps-type one, a chocolate liquor, and some kind of flower liquor. We also ate these famous little cake/torte things…delicious…mine had some Grand Marnier tasting liquor in it. So I guess Innsbruck can be categorized as the place in the Alps where I had lots of meat and liquor. Good times!

Back in the car we drove up to the castle Neuschwanstein in southern Bavaria, Germany. Nice as always. Then we drove up to Munich and drove on the autobahn (only made it to 123mph due to traffic, but that was still pretty fast). We stayed at the Eden Hotel Wolff directly across from the north entrance of the central train station. The beds were so comfortable…enough so to mention their comfort in a post…now that’s comfort! It started getting rainy as we were in Munich. We walked around and saw the main buildings and such. Justin and I went to the Alte Pinakothek (art museum of old master paintings).  Lots of good stuff in there, mostly from the late 1300s to the 1700s. (1400s from the northern Europe being my favorite, so I was smitten in there). While in Munich we again ate hearty foods and drank merrily…our kind of food. Meats we ate on the trip include veal, wild boar, bacon, suckling pig, pig knuckles, duck, and pig and cow sausage. Oh, the first night we were there we were heading back to the hotel and some football hooligans came onto the U-bahn with us. First they were chanting, then they started fighting. I’m sure they were all drunk, but they didn’t have alcohol, but each had a Red Bull which got thrown about and a few soft-punches were thrown (as the few who were really wild were being held back by strangers and friends). They ended up causing the whole train to get detained for about 20 minutes because they kept forcing open their door. Eventually about 50 officers from three different forces and one drug dog came down and got them off the train to straighten the situation out. Lucky for us we happened to be sitting five feet away, so we got a first hand view of it. They were arguing about a football match, but that’s about all I could figure out. Other passengers sporting their soccer gear pride came over to see what was going on and quickly left because what they were fighting over was stupid and ridiculous. Again, good times.

On Monday we left Munich early in the morning for our 10 hour drive back to Naples. It was raining off and on along the way until after we passed Florence where we found the highway to be flooded and everyone had to be redirected. There was no alternate route, as we found out that the only other main road south was also flooded and closed. We ended up taking a five hour detour to go the length of Siena to Rome…we backtracked a few times as many back roads were flooded or covered in a mudslide. We drove all over the countryside zig-zagging until we finally made it past the closures and past the rain and onto the highway once again. So our 10 hour drive turned into a 15.5 hour drive. My butt is so sore from sitting for so long. But we made it, alive! Hooray! And I can cross off driving through the Italian countryside off my list…which was never actually on my list to begin with.

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That’s all folks! Happy Veteran’s Day!

An evening in Sorrento

I took a bus to Sorrento yesterday with Trish, a friend of Kevin Stockwell’s who just moved here to Naples. We visited an inlaid wood workshop and sampled lots of limoncello…those are the local specialties. We had a gloriously large 2 hour and 15 minute dinner which included bruschetta, tons of cheese, a beefy calamari pasta, a sausage zucchini pasta, a stuffed pepper, and red wine (the cheese and the sausage zucchini pasta were my favorites).

We strolled up and down streets filled with little shops of sandals, tourist stuff, limoncello, inlaid wood, cafes, etc. I took two videos, one of us heading towards the main Piazza and the other at a pizza vending machine. The vending machine drew in quite the crowd of Italians and tourists, as no one had ever tried or seen one before. The one of us walking is not too interesting of a video, but I’d like to note the “Over the Rainbow” song the accordion player played at 1:20…go Kansas! There were a lot of tourists, we heard a fair amount of English and even walked behind a Russian speaking family for a few minutes.

I’d say Sorrento is a nice place to visit once or twice, so I can officially check it off my (non-existent) list of places to go. I guess the highlights of the evening were the views from the bus on the way there, the lovely weather as we ate our dinner outside at the restaurant, and the “Let’s Pizza” machine.

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Amusing Local News

“A woman ate a “baba,” a typical Neapolitan sponge cake soaked in rum syrup, at a baptism party in Caserta. When the party was over, she rode a bicycle home. In a town where people often drive fast, city cops chose instead to stop the woman who was riding the bicycle.  She was tested for blood alcohol content and tested positive, resulting in a reading of .09 percent, a little bit higher than Italy’s maximum legal limit of .05 percent. In accordance with new rules of the road, her driving license was suspended.”

Taken from: “Bicyclist arrested for driving under the influence of ‘baba’.”  “Panorama” newspaper, 56th year, No. 38. Friday October 7, 2011.

Paestum

Saturday, October 8th 2011, I went solo to Paestum, pronounced by the locals like Pay-ay-stoom. Justin did not feel like going. It was a tour through the military, so I wasn’t really alone or anything. It was a 2 hour bus ride which was scenic, so it wasn’t too boring. A few of the photos are taken from the bus when we were passing through Salerno, which has great views of the sea, part of the Almalfi Coast, and Capri. Overall, it was a nice one-time trip.

First I went to a Mozzarella Factory. It was less of a factory than just a few rooms and the domesticated water buffalo pens, aka cow pens. But they make the delicious Mozzarella di Bufala…aka Buffalo Mozzarella, that the area is famous for. I had lunch at their restaurant and ate some fresh cheese with bread and then some potato pasta, which tasted like potato stew.

After lunch I went to the ruins and the museum that houses the artifacts found at the ruins, mostly under the temples. It was all pretty neat. Let’s learn! The site of the Paestum ruins was originally called Poseidonia in honor of the Greek sea God Poseidon. There are three Greek temples, two dedicated to Hera and one to Athena. They area about 2600 years old-ish. A few hundred years after the Greeks were there the Romans came along and build a town there. So the ruins near the temples are all Greek, but the ruins elsewhere around the temples are Roman.  They are the best preserved temples in the world due to the area becomming unlivable due to deforestation, the growth of marshes, and malaria in the 4th century. They were rediscovered when someone (much later) was building a road from Naples through the area. The road goes right through the site, and part of the ruins were recovered with earth and now sits below a few shops, the museum, and whomever’s private property. That’s my summary, knowledge is power!

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