- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -

Andrea Mura Is Asked to Resign After Missing Parliamentary Sessions

Sailor-turned-deputy Andrea Mura, of Italy’s Five Star Movement, has been told by party leaders to resign after it emerged he had missed almost every parliamentary session since taking office, because he insisted on spending the time on his boat. Five Star movement leader Luigi Di Maio said the party MP Mura must resign due to his record levels of absences. As a member of the Transportation Committee, Mura has missed 96% of parliamentary sessions so far. He then angered leaders when he said that “political activity does not take place only in Parliament, you can also do politics on a boat.” Mura, from Sardinia, represents the island’s capital of Cagliari in Parliament and wrote in a blog posting soon after his election that he would be “dedicated” to fulfilling his political duties. The issue of Mura’s absence comes as an embarrassing blow to the Five Star movement, which prides itself on honesty and transparency, especially since the movement rose to power on a wave of popularity to eliminate waste and incompetence in government.

Art Police Recover Two Masterpieces

The two stolen paintings worth tens of millions of dollars have been recovered by the Italian art police. The paintings are ‘Holy Family’ by 18th century French painter Pierre-August Renoir and ‘Girls on the Lawn’ by 16th century Belgian painter Peter Paul Rubens. Two gallery owners were the victims of the theft. Both works of art were recovered by the Monza police in the province of Turin, following a 17-month investigation. The paintings had been stolen in an elaborate scam involving at least eight different con artists. At least one had posed as a Jewish rabbi with diplomatic immunity and offered the respective gallery owners €26 million for the paintings before stealing them.

Beaches in Rome Almost Ready

Grab your swimsuit and head to Rome. These are words that have likely never been uttered – until now. The beach project announced in 2017 is nearly ready to open, but critics say that the Tiber really isn’t up to the high standards set for Italian beaches. With sports fields, play areas for children, cycle paths and sunbathing areas complete with sand and umbrellas, observers are wondering how the project, situated on the banks below the Ponte Giuseppe Marconi Bridge in southeast Rome, will be ready by Ferragosto, that begins in August. While thousands of tons of sand have been delivered to the site, there is still a lot of work to do. The ‘Beach on the Tiber’ is only the latest attempt to turn the banks of the river into a man-made beach for Rome’s residents and tourists. In 2005, Tevere Village, a similar project, opened on the banks of Castel Sant’Angelo, although it was ultimately short lived. Time will tell whether this latest effort will have a lasting effect.

Village Finally Blossoms

Every year, the fields of Umbrian village Castelluccio come alive with color as part of an annual spectacle known as ‘La Fiorita.’ Poppies, daffodils, violets and other flowers paint the fields in rainbow hues and thousands of tourists flock to take in the sight in the Apennine’s highest village. La Fiorita takes place in the summer months. This year it began later than usual, but the colors have been particularly vivid thanks to favorable weather conditions. Since the 2016 earthquakes, the annual ‘flowering’ has taken on a deeper meaning. The town was badly hit by the series of tremors and the bright colors ahead of the September harvest are an important symbol of Castelluccio’s coming to life again. The town has not yet fully recovered, but last week, five businesses and two dairies re-opened for the first time since the earthquake, blossoming again after almost two years of gloom.

Using Bees to Study Pollution

Italian beekeepers are working with the Carabinieri police to learn more about the state of the air in the Eternal City. The Italian Federation of Beekeepers is situated in a building in the heart of the capital. On building’s roof, instruments used to measure fine particles in the air have been placed a few steps away from the bee hives. Data taken from the instruments is then compared with the honey produced in the hives, which is periodically removed and analyzed by the scientists. They are also studying the adverse effects of being in the center of a big city and are looking for the harmful residue of the fine particles in the honey, which will allow them to better understand the movements of the particles. In total, around a dozen roofs in the center of Rome house the hives, including one at the top of a Carabinieri building.

A Dream Job for Chocolate Lovers

The Ferrero Company, which makes Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread is offering the perfect job for chocolate lovers. For the first time ever, Ferrero will employ non-professionals to taste-test their products, including the famous spread. The role involves tasting ingredients, including various types of cocoa and hazelnuts. The 60 new Nutella tasters require no experience and are officially called sensory judges and will work for two days each week at the company’s headquarters in Alba. The role of sensory judge itself is not new, but the company has so far only ever entrusted the task to internal employees. They are now looking for regular consumers as candidates. The new employees will begin work on September 30th with a three-month course to hone their senses of taste and smell.