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Opera del Trecento rubata dalla Pinacoteca di Bologna - 'Sant'Ambrogio attribuito a Giusto de' Menabuoi'

St. Ambrose Painting Recovered

A 14th century depiction of Saint Ambrose that was stolen from Bologna’s Pinacoteca Museum on March 10 has been recovered by the Carabinieri Art Police. The precious artwork was removed during regular museum hours in a brazen robbery. In the operation coordinated by Bologna investigators, the Carabinieri also recovered a 13th century work, ‘Crocifissione e Discesa al Limbo,’ that had been stolen in February from the Faenza Pinacoteca, as well as ‘Ritratto di Donna’ (Portrait of a Woman), a 17th century piece taken from Imola’s Museo Civico S.Domenico in March. A 50-year-old Bologna man is under investigation for allegedly stealing all three works, which have an estimated combined value of at least 600,000 euros. Police said the works were found wrapped in clothing and hidden in a wardrobe.

Tourist Hurt in Uffizi Bathroom

A woman tourist hurt her foot when bits of heavy travertine stone fell from the wall of a bathroom in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. The whole floor of the gallery where the bathroom was located was then closed off as museum workers and contractors tried to assess the reason for the dislodged masonry.  Said Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt, “We were all really frightened, also because regular controls had not flagged up anything. Now, after examining the material that gave way, it has emerged that building work done 20 years ago was shoddy.”

Those Nutty Venice Tourists

The Mayor of Venice has threatened legal action after tourists were filmed diving off the Rialto Bridge into the Grand Canal, to the cheers of onlookers. The warming weather seems to signal the start of irresponsible behavior in the packed historic center. In one video, shared on a Facebook page, as music blasted, onlookers can be heard screaming and cheering as visitors leaped from the iconic bridge into the canal. Police were called to the scene, but did not find the divers. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro threatened to take legal action to remove videos of the incident from the web, fearing that they could inspire other people to follow suit. As well as potentially damaging one of Venice’s most famous landmarks, the stunt, performed by many over enthusiastic visitors over the years, can be extremely dangerous. In 2016, one such plunge placed a New Zealand man in the hospital, when instead of water, he landed on a water taxi. Other tourists have been fined for bathing in the Grand Canal, which carries a €50 penalty. Yet many complain that the sum is too low and that police are rarely on hand to catch unruly tourists in the act.

Records Setting Parmigiano Sales

Cheese is serious business in Italy and one of the country’s most famous types, Parmigiano Reggiano, had its best year ever in 2017. 147,000 tons were produced, generating €2.2 billion in sales. This represents 3.6 million wheels of the cheese. Production was up 5% against 2016 production figures and 10% percent from three years ago. While Italians still consume the majority of the Parmigiano produced, exports are also rising, increasing by nearly 4% last year to 51,000 tons, or 38% of total production. Further ripening the picture for Parmigiano producers was the increase in its average price to €4.45 per pound, a 14% gain from the previous year. Producers hope 2018 will eclipse last year’s records with 3.7 million wheels expected to be produced.

Southpaw Sculptor

Michelangelo was left-handed and used his right hand because of prejudice against left-handed people during his time, claims art expert Davide Lazzeri. He states in a new article written about the master that Michelangelo worked hard to develop the skillful use of his right hand from a young age. He painted with his right hand, but continued to chisel and sculpt with his left. This was because he needed more strength when creating sculptures, indicated the expert. Lazzeri came to his conclusions by comparing the strikes and impressions made in his unfinished sculptures with drawings made by Michelangelo, including a recently discovered self-caricature found in his painting of Victoria Colonna, where he is seen painting with his right hand.

They Just Won’t Give Up

“Opening a Starbucks in Italy is like opening a Taco Bell in Mexico,” was one of the catchier signs displayed when Starbucks’ executive chairman Howard Schultz announced that the coffee chain would indeed open its first shop in Milan this coming September. Starbucks’ entry into the Italian market, where coffee is deeply ingrained in the national culture, has endured setbacks and delays since it was first suggested more than two years ago. Coffee lovers have gotten in a froth in recent years over the interminable speculation about Starbucks’ introduction into Italy, where an espresso or cappuccino can taste very different from the chain’s offerings. Schultz reassured consumers that the company was coming to Italy “with humility and respect, to show what we have learned.”  Speaking in Milan, he said his vision for Starbucks came about during a visit to Italy in 1983 and that his imagination was captured by Italian coffee. More stores in Italy are in the pipeline, although the company had yet to decide how many. It is estimated that Italy serves about 6 billion espressos each year at cafes and coffee shops.