Here’s the latest list of stuff I found interesting on the interwebz, October 26 through November 2:
- Christmas in Venice
I never tire of reading well-written pieces on Venice. This one has many quotable lines (including the one where he suggests, like I have on a thousand occasions, that "Venice would be the perfect city into which you could simply disappear").
I was particularly pleased, however, by the author's realization that when he didn't care for the city on his first visit to Venice it was really his fault, not Venice's:
"Trapped by summer and ignorance, I, like so many others, had missed the city’s blessings."
I wish more people would understand that.
- Italy lawmakers approve anti-corruption legislation
When you read a title like that, it's tempting to think that a country like Italy (riddled with government corruption) is making some headway. I doubt I'm alone, however, in being cynical about whether these new measures will be enforced or – like so many Italian laws – simply ignored.
(via @WalksofItaly on Twitter)
- Venice hit by worst flooding in two years
It's not unusual for Venice to experience "acqua alta," or "high water," a few times over the winter – but this year the flooding has been worse than normal.
(via @newsfromitaly on Twitter)
- Italian government approves slashing number of provinces, from 86 to 51
Within Italy's regions are a number of smaller provinces (think counties to the US' states), and the Italian government has just approved a proposal to merge a bunch of those provinces in an effort to cut public spending. There are currently 86 provinces in Italy, and under the new plan there would be 51.
So, I get that it would probably save money on administrative stuff, but… Wow. I wonder what the reaction will be in Italy?
- A Glimpse of Teenage* Life in Ancient Rome
What is it about well-done animation that makes history so much easier to hear?
* That would be MALE teenage life. The only mention of young girls is the 17-year-old boy's bride-to-be, who is a whopping 7 years old.
- The Lance Armstrong case shows why the disruption in journalism matters
So, this article is trying to make the point that social media & "citizen journalists" are to be thanked for doggedly pursuing the Armstrong doping story when the mainstream media was too afraid (or whatever, they all have their reasons) to do the same.
The problem is that "citizen journalists" don't have to adhere to the same standards as actual journalists – no pesky fact-checking for me, man! – & since the barrier to publishing is essentially nil, there's nothing standing in the way of people posting wild speculation & lies.
Wait. Nevermind. That's pretty much what the talking heads on the TV news have been doing for years now. I guess the "citizen journalists" are just modeling what they see.
(via @everywheretrip on Twitter)
- Don’t even think about eating pizza on the Spanish Steps.
Okay, let's back up a bit.
Yes, several cities in Italy have laws (some old, some new) against eating in public places. They're usually specific to sitting on steps or in piazzas while eating. And they're not aimed solely at visitors – locals are subject to the same rules.
I actually think these laws are okay, for a few reasons. They help control littering in extremely popular places, they tend to keep people moving so more people can come in to enjoy an attraction, and they also help cut down on overly boisterous partying late into the night – if you can't hang out on the church steps drinking anymore, maybe you'll take your noise indoors where it belongs, eh?
There's no shortage of legitimate places to eat outdoors in Italy, I promise. Stick to those and avoid getting fined.
- Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to four years for tax fraud
Do I think he'll actually serve any of that time? Not really. But the fact that he was actually found guilty & sentenced to any time at all feels like a miracle in an Italian system that's broken & (thanks to Silvio's handiwork during his tenure in government) predisposed to letting high-ranking officials get away with ALL KINDS of shit. Maybe this is a little glimmer of hope for the future.
And if he serves any time at all, that would be an outstanding bonus.
- Why Silvio Berlusconi’s jail sentence matters, even though he won’t serve it
If you're confused about how Berlusconi could possibly be convicted at all, or how the ruling could be considered any sort of victory when – in all honesty – he'll likely never see the inside of a jail cell, then be sure to read this essay.