Tuesday, March 6

Tante Belle Cose - What's new in Italy

As short as it was, in February lots of new, exciting things happened in the Bel Paese. 

First, was my re-discovery of Calve's Peanut Butter on Roman supermarket shelves.  Brought to you by those trusted purveyors of cheap imitation condiments beloved by junk-food Americans (like Mayo, ketchup & mustard), I don't know how this fell off my radar (although a peanut allergy might have something to do with it).  Or maybe it was because I was keeping a lookout for Burro di Arachidi instead of the real McCoy?

But even better than finding peanut butter would of course be finding Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  Alas, instead, I found Italy's State-run TV, RAI backing down on its quest for our TV Tax dollars.  They've decided not to send the rottweilers of Equitalia after anyone peering at any transmittable image; meaning placing a user's tax on computers, mobile phones, tablets, and anything that actually shows 'talkies' (or, in a nod to this year's Oscars, even silent films).  They will only expect the tax on computers sold as TVs (think: AppleTV).

And, while things are coming down (except gas prices and taxes), there's talk that the divorce law will finally come in line with normal country standards.  You still won't be able to nab a Vegas divorce, but you might be able to break the ties that bind within 1 year, 2 if you have kids.  In the old days it was something like 7.  Lately, I believe it's three.  Let's hope for the sake of sanity that this is one law that actually gets enforced.

In Aquila, three years after the devastating earthquake, musicians & composers got together and put on an opera in the house.  They've been performing in Teramo & Chieti, but gave a concert for their hometown that had the misfortune of being adopted by Berlusconi & the Italian State just after the G20 show held there.  Let's just say that Berlusca's showgirls Ruby & Co. got a lot more money and a lot more facelifts than nostra povera Aquila.  Check out the foto here.  But what was really terrific about the show, was a piece written by a young composer, Frecciarotta (Broken Arrow), a piece that takes the piss out of the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) Italian train system.

And finally, anyone longing for days gone by can find real-life emperors being lifted about in their litters while enjoying the sights of Rome right next to the Centurions who want to get your tourist dollar for a nice photo opp.  Well, almost.  I had heard that the City of Rome was inaugurating a service to carry tourists on a sort of litters into the least accessible areas, like the Forum.  It may be on offer, but no search engine could find the news in less than two days after it broke.  Ahhh...some things never change -- like keeping the disabled out of sight and out of mind.

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