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Employment Levels Up

The national statistical agency of Italy, ISTAT, released good news about the country’s employment levels. In November, 59.4% of the working-age population were working. This is the highest level since the start of the statistical series in 1977. The number of people employed in Italy that month totaled just under 23.5 million. The proportion of the Italian population that is not in the labor market (in other words, they are not working or looking for jobs) dropped to 34%. Those two categories account for 93.4% of the working age population, meaning that only 6.6% of the population is still out there looking for work.

Hypnosis during Surgery

Hypnosis has been used to operate on the heart condition, atrial fibrillation, for the first time in Italy. Doctor Luca Bacino used it in the electrophysiological room of the San Paolo Hospital in the northwestern city of Savona. Bacino has introduced hypnosis into clinical practice thanks to collaboration with the Center for Arrhythmology of the Cardinal Massaia Hospital in Asti, north of Turin. The doctor commented, “Clinical hypnosis is still not very well known today and not very much applied in the medical field, but its potential is extraordinary. Atrial fibrillation ablation is a procedure used to treat an irregular heart rhythm. Without treatment, it tends to get worse over time. The benefit to the patient is the reduced use of anesthesia, which makes the tolerance to the procedure easier on the body.

A Celebration of Raphael

An exhibition of the works of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, more commonly known as Raphael, is planned to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of the master painter. The exhibition takes place from March 5 through June 2 at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome. The show, entitled ‘Raphael’ represents the largest monographic exhibition ever assembled featuring the works of the Renaissance genius. It will feature over 200 masterpieces, including paintings and sketches, as well as comparison works. Roughly 100 works are by the prolific master himself, who died on April 6, 1520 at the age of just 37. Florence’s Uffizi Gallery is sending over 40 works by Raphael, while other contributors include the Louvre in Paris, London’s National Gallery and the Prado in Madrid. The exhibition will include such renowned pieces as the ‘Madonna del Granduca’ and ‘Woman with a Veil’ (from the Uffizi); the ‘Portrait of Baldassarre Castiglione’ (from the Louvre) and the ‘Madonna of the Rose’ (from the Prado).

Top Picks for Visiting Italy

Sicily, Molise and Urbino were each listed on the New York Time’s selections of the 52 top travel destinations in the world for the upcoming year. Sicily was seventh on the list, although such news would be nothing new to the readers of the Italian Tribune. For quite some time there has been a reawakening by tourists to the rich cultural and distinctive culinary heritage of Italy’s largest island. Molise (pictured) is one of Italy’s smallest regions and was placed 37th on the list. The paper pointed to the off-the-beaten track features of Molise, where old world traditions provide an authenticity and charm that is well worth experiencing. Urbino came in 51st place and was included in the list based upon one of the region’s most notable residents – Raphael. But the Times is simply playing catch-up with the readers of the Tribune, who each week find recommendations for visits to Italy that generate ideas about itineraries in our Food, Wine and Travel section.

Hottest Decade on Record

The decade that just ended was the hottest on record in Italy. With the second warmest December since 1800, the year 2019 ended with a temperature that was one degree higher than average and thus became the fourth hottest year on record. The warmest years were 2014, 2015 and 2018, said the Italian Research Council’s Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science. 2019 was also a year that saw several record hot temperatures recorded this past summer in regions from Sicily in the south, through Alto Adige in the north, with a lengthy heat wave striking Rome in August. The hot summer was followed by a very rainy autumn in many parts of the country, but as decades go, there was none hotter than 2010 – 2019.

A Good Idea?

Pizza giant Domino’s has announced plans to open an additional 850 locations in Italy during the upcoming decade. Domino’s has over 16,000 stores in 85 countries and has predictably been slow to enter the Italian market. It presently has 29 stores in Italy, the first of which opened in 2015. Most of the new stores will be in north and central Italy with locations targeting Varese, Como, Lecco, Cremona, Mantua, Lodi and Pavia. Comments on social media have been markedly quizzical or comical, the most common one being “Why?” Another referred to the plan as “like bringing sand to the beach.” Domino’s will focus on home delivery in an attempt to make itself the pizza of choice in a nation that will likely remain skeptical of the offerings.