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No More Kayaks in the Grand Canal

Venice has announced a crackdown on the use of recreational boats on its main waterways, with canoes, kayaks and paddleboards banned from the Grand Canal under the new measure. Watercraft owned by residents of Venice’s historic center are exempt from the ban, which thankfully does not affect the city’s iconic gondolas and other traditional Venetian boats. Because they pose a hazard to other boats as well as to its occupants, rubber dinghies and other inflatables are entirely banned even if owned by Venetians. The affected waterways include the Grand Canal, the Cannaregio Canal and other routes used by Venice’s waterborne public transport. Less busy smaller canals will only enforce the ban during certain times of the day, namely peak hours. However, exceptions to the rules may be made to accommodate special events in the lagoon city.

Price for Million Dollar View

Venice also made headlines for the latest incident of outrageous pricing, when a café in St. Mark’s Square charged a customer €43 for two coffees and two bottles of water. The indignant patron at Caffe Lavena happened to be a politician from the Lazio town of Fiano Romano. The café’s management argued that customers do not pay attention when told they will pay more if they choose to sit outside the historic establishment. An espresso costs just €1.20 inside at the bar, but outside patrons pay a whooping €11.50 to sit and enjoy the music from the nearby orchestra, while taking in the atmosphere. It has been said that St. Mark’s Square has a million dollar view, so in that regard, €43 for a couple of bottles of water and espressos apparently seems like a bargain to local café owners.

Vintage Decoration Discovered in Pompeii

The last several months have seen an extraordinary number of exciting discoveries at the Pompeii archaeological site. Recent excavations have uncovered an ancient Roman treasure, a home that has been christened “Domus Vintage.” A domus was the type of house occupied by the upper classes. The newest find is located along a street that itself was only recently uncovered. These homes of the wealthy had balconies and were richly decorated with frescoes. The new finding is called “Domus Vintage” because it is decorated in the first Pompeian style, explained Pompeii Director, Massimo Osanna, who added “The owner must have been wealthy and cultured and aware of the value of paintings.”

Italian Films at Venice Film Fest

The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the most prestigious. The Festival was organized for the first time in 1932 and was so popular it became an annual event in 1935. The prestigious festival presents a selection of world-class films, bringing some of the most successful directors and actors onto the red carpet at Lido di Venezia. ‘Suspiria’ by Luca Guadagnino; ‘Capri – Revolution’ by Mario Martone and ‘What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire’ by Roberto Minervini, are the three Italian films in competition at the Festival’s historic 75th edition, taking place August 29 to September 8. A film by Alessio Cremonini, ‘Sulla mia pelle,’ will open the Orizzonti section of the festival. The first part of TV series My Brilliant Friend, directed by Saverio Costante and adapted from the first book in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, will be shown out of competition. Director Paolo Genovese will be on the jury chaired by Guillermo del Toro. In addition to film premieres, the Festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures honoring the rich history of cinema.

Fast Lane at Post Office

The Italian postal company has announced that parents with newborn babies will no longer have to wait in lines. The company said it has revised its courtesy notice for employees and clients in 12,800 offices, recommending that people with babies in their arms or in strollers should be invited to go to the front of the line. The postal service’s catchy slogan for the new policy is “To be advanced, you have to be a step behind.” Customers have been requested to make way for pregnant women and the disabled for some time and now those with newborns can avoid the delay of waiting on line at the post office.

No Holiday for Art

Art is not going on holiday this summer with museums across Italy open throughout August. The National Museum of Contemporary Art and Architecture in Rome will offer a special seven-euro ticket to visit its 12 exhibits and ongoing special projects throughout the month. Masterpieces of the 1300s will be showcased in the Umbrian cities of Trevi, Spoleto and Montefalco, with 70 masterworks highlighting the period when Umbria was the center of a 14th century artistic revolution. Turin’s Museo del Cinema will feature SoundFrames, Cinema and Music on Show, an exhibit showcasing the connection between film and music. For those who are fascinated by luxury items, Milan’s Palazzo Reale has an exhibit titled Luxus – Lo Stupore della Bellezza (Luxury – Surprising Beauty), featuring a range of items from exquisite garments and costumes to priceless jewelry and elaborate Carnevale masks.