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Pompeii Exhibit Reopens

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One of Pompeii’s most famous houses has reopened 40 years after it was seriously damaged in an earthquake. The House of the Lovers is one of the jewels of the ancient Roman city buried by an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It is the only ‘domus’ whose second floor was almost completely preserved after the eruption. The house, which dates to the first century AD, owes its name to a Latin inscription on the right of the entrance, which translates as “Lovers like bees pass a sweet life like honey. I wish it was so.” The house was one of several rendered unstable after the 1980 earthquake that rocked Naples and the surrounding area. Restoration on the house began in earnest six years ago to repair and re-stabilize structures. Three well-known domuses have been restored and during the process, vivid frescoes and never before seen inscriptions have been uncovered.


Virus Shuts Down Town

Bars, schools and offices in a northern Italian town closed for a week in an attempt to quell fears after six cases of the coronavirus were confirmed. Six people tested positive for the virus in the town of Codogno, which has a population of 15,000. It is located in the Lombardia region, just north of Piacenza and about 35 miles southeast of Milan. Codogno Mayor Francesco Passerini issued a decree ordering the immediate closure of schools, municipal offices, stores selling food, bars and sports facilities. About 80 venues were affected. Local authorities also advised residents to stay at home and avoid social activities as a precaution. Around 250 people are being tested for the virus in the area. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of patients infected with the virus in Italy have mild a disease and recover, while 14 percent have severe diseases such as pneumonia.


Venice Ends Carnevale Early

Masks are part of the fun of Carnevale in Venice, but last week, a different type of mask was worn by many, as fears of the spread of the coronavirus caused many to don protective masks in addition to their traditional festive one. Italian authorities have been scrambling to control the virus and have imposed a lock-down on stricken tourist cities in the north. This included Venice, where three cases were confirmed. The world-famous carnevale was forced to end before its normal conclusion on Shove Tuesday. The festival, which draws hundreds of thousands to the lagoon city, was cut short by two days as the country’s number of virus cases rose from three to 133 in just two days over the weekend. Officials also announced that people were also forbidden from entering and leaving some areas of Veneto and Lombardy for two weeks without special permission, officials said.

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Movie Poster Major Auction

Turin’s Sala Bolaffi recently completed a monumental auction of movie posters. With a catalogue of 370 lots, the auction embraced the history of cinema from its very beginning, with a poster of “Cabiria,” the first Italian silent film and continued up to the 1970s, with special focus on the ’30s and ’40s. The selection featured posters of remarkable importance, including those for the international market. Among the gems of the catalogue were the first Italian edition of “Modern Times” directed by Charlie Chaplin and illustrated by Anselmo Ballester. So what kind if posters brought the highest price at auction? Among the draws for collectors were the significant pieces dedicated to horror films, which have a cult-like following worldwide. The highest priced pieces were unsurprisingly the most sought-after posters – those from the Frankenstein trilogy, “Frankenstein,” “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Son of Frankenstein,” where the prices for each approached the 100,000 euro mark.


New Olive Oil Study

A study at Italy’s National Research Council’s Biochemistry and Cellular Biology Institute has determined that olive oil counters the aging of brain cells, particularly in older subjects, confirming once again the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The study proved that a component naturally found in olive oil – hydroxytyrosol, counters the effect of the aging of neurons, which are key for short term memory. Production of neurons slows as we age and olive oil not only helps to stimulate the production known as neurogenesis, but due to its antioxidant properties, helps to cleanse nerve cells, improving neuron function. You always knew olive oil was good for your body, now this study also proves that it is good for your brain.


No Tariff Troubles

Great news recently emerged for U.S. consumers who purchase products imported from Italy. There have been significant fears that products such as Parmigiano cheese and Parma prosciutto would be subject to new import tariffs; however, the revised list from the Office of the United States Trade Representatives does not include Italian products! The steep taxes were announced in October as retaliation against European countries that were found by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to have been giving illicit subsidies to the Airbus aircraft manufacturing consortium. Washington has decided not to raise tariffs by 25% on the food products. Instead the biggest measure will be an increase of tariffs from 10% to 15% on Airbus vehicles imported from Europe starting on March 18. Italian exporters breathed a sigh of relief and applauded the move, as did Italian government officials.

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