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Weekly News – July 11, 2019

Keep Your Shirt On

Two British tourists earned themselves a double fine for taking bike rides through the center of Venice without their shirts on. The two men were spotted strolling bare-chested, wheeling their bicycles through the busy square outside the Church of San Simeon Piccolo. Stopped by police who patrol Venice on the lookout for disruptive behavior, the pair were uncooperative and refused to produce identification. Officers escorted them to the nearest police station, where they were each slapped with a €250 fine for going shirtless, plus a €100 penalty for bringing bikes into the city center. Venice recently stiffened its penalties for bad behavior in tourist thoroughfares, including a ban on bare chests or swimsuits anywhere in the Venetian lagoon, even aboard private boats or vehicles. Fines can reach up to €500, while the worst offenses can earn visitors a temporary ban from the city altogether.

Local the Way to Go

Under a new amendment to the regional law, farmhouse hotels in Lombardy must exclusively serve local wine and 80% of the food must be sourced locally from within the region. This new provision will affect more than 1,600 agriturismi – farms that offer tourist accommodations. The region’s most famous wines are Valtellina reds and sparkling Franciacorta. Additionally, only locally sourced fish will be permitted, which comes primarily from lakes such as Como, Maggiore, Garda and Iseo. That means guests are in for a whole lot of meat, cheese, butter and rice and less tomato and olive oil, which are prevalent further south. At least 35% of all food must be produced at the farm itself, while only 20% of all products can be bought from large retailers like supermarkets. The restrictions are intended to raise the quality of service for consumers and make the businesses a showcase for regional specialties. Some eight million guests eat in farmhouses in Lombardy every year.

Italy to Host 2026 Games

Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo has been chosen to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, beating Stockholm-Åre’s bid. Jubilant members of the Italian Olympic Committee are pictured as the news was announced. On the road to the 2026 decision, bids from Calgary, Canada, Graz in Austria, Japan’s Sapporo and Sion in Switzerland, fell by the wayside mainly because of concerns over the cost or a lack of popular support. The bid by Stockholm and the Åre ski area, which hosted the World Ski Championships in February, appeared to be running out of steam a few months ago due to a lack of funding commitments, but the government later swung behind it. It failed to convince IOC delegates, who voted 47-34 in favor of Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo. Italy has twice hosted the Winter Olympics – 1956 in Cortina d’Ampezzo and 2006 in Turin. Sweden has only hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912 in Stockholm.

Italy Tops the List for Best Hotels

Conde Nast Traveler Magazine has released its 2019 Gold List of the 78 Best Hotels in the World. The ranking included eight hotels in Italy, more than any other European country. Making the esteemed list were the beautiful Aman in Venice; two hotels along the Amalfi Coast – the Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello and Le Sinenuse in Positano, plus one on the Island of Capri – J.K. Place. In the region of Puglia, the Borgo Egnazia in the town of Fasano (Province of Brindisi) was included. Two Hotels in Tuscany made the list – Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole and the refined Castello di Vicarello. Rounding out the list was the incomparable Grand Hotel Villa Feltrinelli (shown in the photograph) in the town of Gargnano on Lake Garda. It was the summer home of Benito Mussolini in 1940.

A Work of Art

Car collectors worldwide have long noted the beautiful lines and lusty performance of the Ferrari 250 GTO. Just 36 of the cars were produced between 1962 and 1964, which sold for $18,000 at the time (about $150,000 in today’s dollars). It is now one of the most expensive car models in the world. The most recent example to sell at auction (last year in California) brought in $48.4 million. Not only are the iconic cars from Maranello hugely valuable, the model has now officially been named as a work of art, with legal protection for its design. The ruling by a Bologna court came after a petition by Ferrari to protect the famous design. This is the first time that a car has been granted a copyright for a design, not based upon engineering, but as an officially recognized work of art.

 Picture Perfect

The Eternal City is filled with some of the world’s most extraordinary works of ancient art, but one of the most beautiful is also among the least visited – the summer dining room in the Villa of Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus. The room contains life-sized frescoes of trees, flowers, fruit and birds, creating a seamless view flowing from wall to wall.