Naples is the home of pizza. UNESCO has now named the art of “pizzaiuolo” to the list of “intangible heritage” securing the coveted status alongside a host of cultural treasures. It comes after some two million people signed a petition to support Naples’ application. The custom goes far beyond the pizzaiuolo’s spectacular handling of the dough – hurling it into the air in order to “oxygenate” it – to include songs and stories that have turned pizza-making into a time-honored social ritual. Thirty-four candidates were seeking to join the list of intangible heritage, joining more than 350 traditions, art forms and practices.
Lamborghini Unveils SUV
Lamborghini, the fabled Italian sports car manufacturer, has unveiled its new Sports Utility Vehicle, accelerating into a fast growing market already crowded with upmarket rivals. The Urus, as the four-wheel drive super SUV will be known, was revealed at the company’s historic home near Bologna. It will have a top speed of 190 mph and can go from zero to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds. The Urus will be sold in Europe for around $200,000. It is powered by a 650 hp, twin-turbo V8 engine. Maserati and Alfa Romeo have each introduced SUVs within the last two years and Ferrari is considering entry into the market which has increased by 233 % in the last 10 years. In 2016, 26.5 million SUVs were sold. Analysts expect the broader market to expand a further 30 percent by 2020, although the ultra-expensive super SUV sector will represent only a tiny niche part of the increase.
2017 – Driest Year in Centuries
2017 has been the driest year in Italy since 1800, according to Italy’s National Research Council. Rains have been more than 30% below the average, marking this year as the driest in more than two centuries. The most recent year that was nearly as dry in Italy was in 1945. Several Italian regions have declared drought emergencies during the year, causing millions of dollars in agricultural damage.
Everyone knows of the Coliseum in Rome and the games that it hosted, but soccer fans in Sicily’s Siracusa were puzzled when they encountered archeologists digging up ancient ruins on one side of the soccer stadium. After finding the remains of a 2,300 year old house just outside one end of De Simone Stadium, local authorities barred access to part of the bleachers in order to give scientists room to work. The discovery occurred as underground pipework was being conducted for the stadium’s plumbing system. Similar work in Sicily has been unearthing ancient artifacts all over Siracusa.
Catch of the Day?
A sharp-eyed shopper recently spotted a silver-cheeked toadfish among anchovies being sold in Molfetta, a town just north of Bari. Known in Italy as alici, the small fish will undoubtedly end up in many Christmas Eve recipes, but mixing the toadfish could have been disastrous. Its meat contains high levels of toxins and if humans are bitten by the fish, they may lapse into respiratory paralysis. The fish is commonly found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, many thousands of miles from the shores of Bari. Somehow it hitched a ride with a cargo ship and ended up as a potently deadly catch of the day.
Franco Morbidelli is the 2017 Moto World Champion. His stunning season included eight wins, six poles and 11 podiums. He became the first Italian champion in the intermediate class in nearly ten years. The 23 year old has had his sights set on becoming a professional racer since he was a young boy and actually moved close to Pesaro at the age of ten to be closer to his idol, legendary racer Valentino Rossi. Franco has been racing since 2013, but this year marked his first win after eight previous podiums. Next year he will leap up to the prestigious MotoGP category.
Agricultural Age Advantage
Becoming a young farmer in Italy has its benefits. The Italian government recently announced that new farm businesses owned by citizens under 40 years of age will be given a five year tax break. There are no taxes on the businesses for the first three years, while year four receives a 66% tax break (only 34% of income is taxed) and a 50% tax break in the fifth year. The 2018 government’s budget also includes higher reimbursements for farmers selling cattle and pigs for consumption. These incentives are expected to result in an increase in the number of farms in every region in the country, hopefully creating sustainable farms for young agricultural entrepreneurs.