After an absence of more than 30 years, Alfa Romeo has announced that it will rejoin the motorsport that it had dominated in its early years. The automaker won the first two championships in Formula One in 1950 and 1951, before it suddenly departed. It rejoined as an engine provider for a few years in the 1960s and 70s and as a manufacturer for six seasons through 1985. Now Alfa Romeo has announced a multi-year deal with Sauber F1 to re-enter the sport. The move is a smart one for Alfa’s parent FIAT, which is also tied to Ferrari. One would imagine that Alfa will become the test bed for technology development, while Ferrari would operate as the senior team. The financially beleaguered Sauber team has the most sophisticated wind tunnel in the sport, but lacks the funds to make the best use of it. With the support of Alfa Romeo, that situation is sure to change. The team will be called Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team beginning next season, with the car bearing the Alfa Romeo logo and being equipped with 2018-spec Ferrari engines.
Prosciutto Co. to Save Fresco
An Italian prosciutto company will fund the restoration of an ancient underground fresco in Naples, located in the city’s San Gennaro catacombs. This is a huge network of underground tombs dating back to the 2nd century BC and contains the tomb of San Gennaro, one of Naples’ patron saints. The complex is one of the southern city’s most popular attractions. Italy’s biggest prosciutto producer, Parmacotto, has provided €30,000 for the project, which will begin in January and is expected to take two years. That money will go towards the preservation of the centuries-old fresco, which had been damaged by the damp climate of the catacombs over the years. Recent years have seen a string of famous Italian sites renovated with funds from private donors, often from Italy’s two most globally renowned sectors, luxury fashion and food.
da Vinci’s Codex to Return to Italy
Italians will have a rare chance to see one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most intriguing notebooks when it goes on display in Florence next year. His Codex Leicester is set to return on loan from its owner, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, ahead of the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death. Since buying the manuscript for more than $30 million in 1994, Gates has loaned it to museums in the United States, Europe and Asia. Next year, he will lend it to an Italian institution for the first time in decades: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where it will be on display from October 2018 to January 2019. The 72-page manuscript, covered in dense notes written from right to left and punctuated by the Renaissance artist’s sketches, contains da Vinci’s reflections on everything from tides to geology to how best to build bridges.
Berlusconi Indicted in ‘Ruby Ter’ Case
Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi was indicted in Siena last week in the so-called Ruby Ter series of probes. The three-time former Premier and media billionaire was indicted for allegedly bribing Siena-born pianist Danilo Mariani to lie about the true nature of his bunga bunga parties at the Milan villa Mariani, where Mariani had played. Berlusconi is under investigation for allegedly bribing a 32-year-old model, Roberta Bonasia, to remain silent about the parties. She has therefore been charged with perjury, joining a string of other young women with the same charge. The media magnate is suspected of paying almost 400,000 euros to three women in Milan in October 2016, allegedly in exchange for their silence. In January, Berlusconi was indicted for allegedly paying other women to stay silent.
A photo of a barbecue at a Sicilian cemetery has gone viral. The people eating among the tombs at Melilli graveyard near Siracusa, appear to be cemetery staff. The cemetery is privately owned and while there was no comment by the owners, Melilli Mayor Giuseppe Carta was outraged. “I’m indignant and mortified at what happened at the graveyard!” he exclaimed. Perhaps he could have used a term other than mortified…
Belluno Tops in Quality of Life
Belluno has come top of the latest quality-of-life ranking of among Italy’s 110 provinces. The list is compiled by Il Sole 24 Ore each year. The northern province finished ahead of Aosta, which was top last year. Third was Sondrio. At the bottom was Caserta, with two other southern regions, Taranto and Reggio Calabria, just above. Milan dropped from second place to eighth, while Rome fell 11 places to 24. Turin dropped five places to 40th and Genoa was down by a whopping 21 to 48th. Palermo was 97th and Naples 107th.