Rome’s new (ugly) drinking fountains

Anyone who has already been to Rome is familiar with the traditional “nasone”, the four-feet tall, grey, lead column-shaped water fountains that were first placed in Rome in 1874 by the city government in order to provide drinking water to any thirsty citizen. Now the  260 “big noses”  inside the old city walls will have […]

Is the waiting worth it? I say yes.

Many Italians complain about their national health service (SSN) but from the American point of view it is often enviable. Everyone has their own health service doctor whom they can see without charge (a home visit instead costs something), many pharmaceuticals are free of charge as is Emergency care and the state, or rather the […]

Every four minutes…..

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government has been trying to convince the country   –  especially Italy’s unions – that new modifications to Italian labor laws (the one’s that limit a company’s freedom to fire excess personnel) are a must. But while the arguing goes on – with it now looking like the young premier will have […]

Sistine Chapel to return to “daylight”

In 1980, the Vatican Museum decided to wall up the windows of the Sistine chapel to make sure that the daylight did not further damage the wonderful frescoes revealed to the world on October 31, 1512. Now, the Museum has found a way to bring daylight back into this marvelous hall, sort of. Some 7,000 […]

Snack-truck and outfoor table wars are unending

Ask just about anyone (except for the owners of the snack-trucks featured in this article) and they will agree that the vans selling (mostly to tourists) sodas, water, hot dogs and sandwiches are eye-sores and have no business parking in places that block the view of this city’s beautiful ancient monuments. But so far the […]

People in glass houses….

This morning one of my favorite Roman sites (06blog) carried a complaining article about bad-mannered foreigners who do shocking things such as wetting their feet in a fountain gracing a museum. I, myself, wouldn’t do such a thing. After all, these are not swimming pools. But I found it rather ironic that anyone in a […]

The wettest summer in 35 years

Finally, a real summer day and I am heading off to the beach. This summer, these unblemished sunny days have been a relative rarity at least in Rome and much of northern Italy. The fact is that this has been just about the wettest summer for 35 years with an understandably negative effect both on […]

Donor insemination to come (finally) to Italy

Childless Italian couples will soon be able to use donor sperm for insemination. The new law will be passed in deference to  a ruling last year by Italy’s Constitutional Court that declared a previous law banning assisted fertilization unconstitutional. The Italian health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin said earlier this month that by the end of the […]

Summer in Italy, never a dull moment (2)

Along with cultural activities such as concerts, outdoor film screenings and lectures, Italy’s towns – in particular the smaller ones – dedicated much of the summer months  (but the season can run from April to October) to what are generally called “sagre”, a word that was originally coined to describe some kind of an event […]

Italians gearing up for the Ferragosto holiday

I’m about to rush off to the Coop to buy some chicken as my contribution to a Ferragosto barbecue tomorrow in the countryside near lake Bolsena where I am spending most of my summer. Ferragosto is the biggest Italian summer holiday, actually the only one, and the week preceding it is the week in which, […]