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Better Health for Italy

Italy is the healthiest country in the world and the overall health of its people continues to get even better, according to Health Minister Giulia Grillo, who made the announcement last week. She indicated that the World Health Organization’s indices are very positive for the adult population and acknowledged the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, long a staple in Italy. The focus on fresh vegetables, fish and healthier fats, such as olive oil, have contributed to the stellar marks by the World Health Organization. In a related story, a dietary study focused on individuals 65 and over found that the diet cut the risk of death from all causes by 25%. The study was conducted by Marialaura Bonacci and was published in numerous journals dealing with wellness and nutrition.

Ancient Treasure Discovery

Hundreds of ancient Roman gold coins have been discovered on the site of an old theater in Como in northern Italy. Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli announced the discovery of a large cache of ancient Roman coins uncovered in an urn. The coins date back to the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and were minted in the period of Emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leo I and Libius Severus. The remarkable discovery of the coins will now prompt additional searches for antiquities. The location of the find is close to the site of the ancient city of Novum Comum. It is unclear why the gold coins were there in the first place, but archeologists cannot wait to dig further into the area. The theater was built in 1870 and later became a cinema. It closed 20 years ago and was slated for demolition to allow for the construction of a luxury residence. The current plan for the new building is on hold while the treasure hunt continues.

Baci Turns Pink

Italy’s iconic Baci chocolates are now available covered in ruby-tinted chocolate. The star-studded silver wrapped sweets have been popular throughout Italy since they first appeared in 1922. The hazelnut and gianduia-filled chocolates already came in three varieties: milk, white and dark chocolate coatings. Now Perugina have launched a ruby-coated limited edition. The pick color is a result of a special process, no artificial coloring is used. A favorite, especially during holidays, each Baci, which in Italian means kiss, comes with a small love note. Most fans of the delectable chocolates probably do not realize that they were not always associated with romance. The candy was originally called cazzotti, which means punches, because the shape was said to resemble a closed fist. We prefer Baci far more.

Man Gets Jail for Fake Reviews

A man who wrote fake TripAdvisor reviews praising hotels and restaurants in Italy for profit was sentenced to nine months in prison. The defendant, who owns a marketing agency, was also ordered to pay $10,000 in costs and damages after the city’s criminal court ruled that writing fake reviews under a false identity constituted criminal conduct under Italian law. Despite the reviewer’s attempt to avoid detection by using a string of different usernames and email addresses, investigators were able to link him to thousands of attempted reviews of hundreds of businesses. Meanwhile, Italian police began preparing a criminal prosecution after they were tipped off by a restaurant owner in Trieste.

Amatrice Festival a Huge Success

After a two year absence, the town of Amatrice, which was devastated by a 6.2 earthquake in August 2016, welcomed home the festival which celebrates the pasta sauce to which it lent its name ‘Amatriciano.’ The celebration of the recipe known around the world returned to its roots after a two-year hiatus. Located in Lazio, Amatrice once again welcomed guests with the rich scents of tomato, pecorino cheese and white wine. The celebration included 19 different live events and concerts. The numerous culinary events included courses on making the sauce, the ancient techniques for producing local cured meats and workshops devoted to the preparation of various tomato preserves. The spirit of unity was evident throughout the festival and was deemed a huge success by the town’s mayor.

A Fortune Teller’s Fortune

Italian police have arrested a tarot card reader based in Perugia whose clients would make payments off the books in exchange for promises of good fortune. The tarot card reader offered her services exclusively by telephone and advertised for clients in newspapers and television stations across northern Italy, running call centers with at least ten employees. Up until recently, it was the owner of the business that enjoyed good fortune. Although she declared €300,000 of income last year, authorities have evidence suggesting that she squirreled away another €1 million of income. Over the course of the past four years, Italy’s financial crime unit, the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), claim that she had over €4 million of undeclared revenue. By any standard, that is quite a fortune that she was not telling about.