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Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Are Currently on Sale at the Vatican

The Holy See has announced that Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are on sale at the Vatican pharmacy as it undergoes a long-awaited revamping of products carried. The three scents are produced by the Fatebenefratelli monks in Rome. Another new fragrance has been added to the line called “Mystic Rose.” The Vatican Pharmacy is the only pharmacy in the Vatican City. It was founded in 1874 and moved to St. Anne’s Gate, not far from the main entrance of the Vatican in 1917. According to Vatican sources, it is the busiest pharmacy in the world with 2,000 customers per day. Half of those customers come from outside the Vatican for medicines that are not available in Italy, or are difficult to find. Although it does not stock Viagra, it does carry top-brand beauty-care products and perfumes at prices up to 25 % lower than those in stores in Rome.

Italian Explorers Exhibit In Modena

Travelers’ tales from Christopher Columbus to little-known 18th century scientist and voyager Sybilla Merian will be featured at the Galleria Estense in Modena from September 21 to January 6. Customs, trade, languages and landscapes discovered by explorers, merchants and pilgrims will be highlighted by the show. The exhibit is split into six sections ranging from expeditions to the Holy Land, exchanges with the Ottoman Empire, the gradual discovery of Africa, Franciscan trips in the Far East, trade and cultural ties with India and the discovery of the Americas. The latter section opens with an extremely rare first edition of the letter Columbus wrote to the Spanish royals announcing he discovery of the New World. The show ends with a selection of works of art reflecting the cultures, techniques and materials exchanged in the voyages of exploration.

Showing Their Heart

Serie A players took to the field last weekend wearing ‘Genoa in our Hearts’ shirts to mark the August 14 bridge collapse that killed 43 in the city. The shirt was also be worn by match officials in Italian soccer’s top tier. The initiative of the Lega Serie A was “a way of remembering the victims of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge and supporting the city of Genoa”, said league officials. The phrase was flanked by a drawing of the collapsed bridge with a heart formed by many smaller hearts representing the people involved.

Big Fines for a Little Sand

Sardinian authorities have gotten tough with tourists who steal sand from the island’s pristine beaches as a souvenir; very tough. They are now issuing fines of up to €3,000 for improperly acquiring a little bit of Sardinia to take home with them. Recently, a 40-year-old man, originally from Naples, was fined €1,000 after police caught him in possession of a bottle of sand from Gallura beach, on the island’s north coast. The problem has affected Sardinia for years, with a total of more than a ton found in tourists’ luggage at Cagliari airport last summer. Sardinia, which is popular with wealthy visitors, boasts miles of beautiful beaches. Twenty-eight of which have been awarded Blue Flag status, due to their cleanliness. Some sand thieves do repent, however. Two years ago, a woman returned sand 29 years after she had taken it from the pink-sand beach of Budelli. She included a note which said “I read in some newspapers about the issue with taking sand and I felt guilty.”

SPAL at the Top of Serie A!

Although it is still early days in the professional soccer season, Ferrara-based S.P.A.L. currently holds the lead in Serie A, the top level of the sport in Italy. This may not seem significant, but it is the first time that the team has been jointly, or singularly at the top in decades. The once glorious team was most recently atop Serie A in 1959, but has now managed to do so again after a 1-0 win over Parma. Founded in 1907, the team competed in Serie A for 16 out of 17 seasons from 1951 to 1968, with its highest finish being fifth in 1959-1960. As recently as the 2013–14 season, SPAL was mired in the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione, but the team steady has won promotions to higher divisions, reaching Serie B in 2015-2016 and Serie A last year. Ferrara is also the featured province in this week’s Food, Wine and Travel section.

Spectacular Waterspout in Sicily

A rare waterspout was captured on video as it swept offshore near the Sicilian Coast. The footage showed a massive tornado sucking up seawater as it passed close to the shore at Pantelleria, an island southwest of Sicily. Thunder and strong winds could be in the heard in the video, as the waterspout made its way across the Mediterranean Sea. It was filmed by onlookers from the coast. No one was injured by the waterspout, nor was there any damage to property, although one beachgoer, who was in the water, claimed to have lost 10 years off her life when she heard the booming thunder and turned to see the massive funnel. Waterspouts are usually weaker than their land counterparts and generally fail to pull water out of the sea. Strong ones, however can pose threats to boats and marine life.