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Thousands Show Support for Tunnel for High-Speed Train

Tens of thousands of people rallied this past weekend in Turin to support the planned high-speed train that would connect the city to Lyon, cutting in half the travel time. Almost 40,000 people packed the city’s Castello Plaza, to show their support for the TAV Lyon-Turin railway. Supporters see the train project as a potential source of growth for the region and northern Italy. The Lyon-Turin project would involve construction of a 35 mile long tunnel between the Maurienne Valley and the Susa Valley, cutting travel time between the two cities to two hours from current four hours. The European Union is strongly in favor of the project and would fund 40% of the estimated at €8.6 billion cost. Italy would bear 35% of the expense and France 25%. Italy’s new government balked at the cost of the project, giving rise to the outpouring of support by Turin’s citizens.

Truffle Sells for €85,000 in Alba

A rare white truffle weighing a hefty 30 ounces was auctioned for €85,000 at the town of Alba’s famous auction in the Grinzane Cavour Castle. This year’s harvest was excellent, both in terms of quantity and quality, after a difficult season last year. Pricing in the auction is usually calculated based upon gram weight (28.35 grams per ounce) and this year, the normal price was about €35 per gram or a shade under $1,000 per ounce. The anonymous buyer, who bid via the internet, paid an astounding $2,800 per ounce for the enormous truffle, more than twice the price per ounce of gold, which currently is about $1,200 per ounce. Alba has hosted truffle auctions for 88 years as part of its annual truffle fair and the proceeds of the auction support numerous charities in Italy.

The Language of Fashion Design

Fashion designer Antonio Marras has inaugurated a collaboration with the publishing house Zanichelli for fashion and art additions to its Italian dictionary. Marras has kicked off the venture with an exhibition of 16 of his most famous works in his studio located at Milan’s Via Cola di Rienzo. Eight of his pieces will then be auctioned at a fundraiser at the Museum of Culture in Milan. Said the designer, “Culture has never gone out of fashion, which is a language, a code, a way to communicate and clothes are words of a great vocabulary. What I tried to do over time is to make fashion dialogue with other disciplines: art, dance, poetry, cinema, theater, literature.”

Another Type of Fake News

Preparing for the burial of a loved one involves many details, from making arrangements with the church, funeral home and cemetery, to booking a restaurant for a repast or having attendees back to the house after the services. In the case of the funeral for an 80-year-old Sardinian woman who lives near Sassari, there was one element that was missing – the dearly departed. The woman was in Santissima Annunziata Hospital, still alive and in perfectly stable condition. Her family had misinterpreted the news from the doctor who told them that her condition could become grave. Apparently, the only word they understood was grave. When she heard the church bells tolling next door and asked “Who died?” she at first was confused and then thoroughly amused by their answer!

62-year-old Gives Birth in Rome

A 62-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy girl last week in the Italian capital. The baby was born through a planned Caesarean section without complications. The mother, a nurse, had the embryo implanted. The director of Obstetric Anesthesia at San Giovanni Hospital, where the baby was born, said that “Data shows us that those in obstetrics wards in the Lazio region are getting older. In the metropolitan area, it is our experience that many more women have their first children after the age of 40 and an increasing number of women are having a second child between the ages of 46 and 50.” Medically assisted conception is estimated to now account for 20% of pregnancies in the region of Lazio. For comparison, in Tuscany, the assisted conception rate is about 7%, while in Friuli, it is 3%.

The Genius of Guido Reni

Artist Guido Reni, the Baroque master, was the dominant figure of the Bolognese School and painted primarily religious works. A new exhibit, “Guido Reni, the Barberinis and the Corsinis: History and Fortune of a Masterpiece,” opened at Rome’s Galleria Corsini, presented by the Gallerie Nazionali di Arte Antica. The exhibition includes 15 works and revolves around the ‘Vision of Sant’Andrea Corsini,’ a masterpiece commissioned in 1629 by the Corsini family. The painting was donated by Ottavio Corsini to Pope Urban VIII and was in his family’s Palazzo Barberini until 1936. The exhibition also places the masterpiece alongside a copy that Agostino Masucci painted in 1732, that served as a model for a mosaic at the San Giovanni in Laterano Church. Requests to make paintings into mosaics was very much in vogue in the 18th century. A second, smaller exhibit room shows Reni’s skill in experimenting with different techniques, including frescoes and oil paintings, painting on canvases as well as copper, stone and silk. The show will continue until February 17, 2019.