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Weekly News – May 29, 2018

Remains of Ancient Seaport Discovered

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe could be the remains of Naples’ first port in the waters by Castel dell’Ovo. The castle that currently occupies the site was constructed in the 15th century and was refurbished for exhibitions and other special events in 1975. Exploring the waters nearby, a team of divers found four tunnels about 30 feet below the surface, which they believe could have been used to moor ships some 25 centuries ago, when the water level was lower. They also found the remains of a street – complete with furrows made by cart wheels and a long trench that could have been used by soldiers for defense.

The Castel dell’Ovo is the oldest standing fortification in Naples. It stands at the site of a city dating from the 6th century BC and affords an excellent view of the Naples waterfront and the surrounding area. In the 1st century BC, the Roman patrician Lucius Licinius Lucullus built the magnificent villa Castellum Lucullanum on the site. Fortified by Valentinian III in the mid-5th century, it was the site where the last western Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was exiled in 476.

Ferrari Opens Season Strong

The opening round of the Formula One World Championship in Australia had the bells ringing in Maranello. A strong qualifying effort had the two Ferraris of Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian start second and third, but in the race, Vettel passed his teammate. Then a safety car period allowed Vettel to leap ahead of pole sitter and current World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to win the 47th Grand Prix of his career and the 229th for Scuderia Ferrari. Teammate Räikkönen finished a strong third. This is Ferrari’s second consecutive win in the opener from ‘down under.’ The teams return to battle on April 8th in Bahrain.

How’s This for a House Call?

Through vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see and shrouded in fog, the thud of hooves pounding the loose earth grows louder. A man on horseback gallops into view. It could be a scene from a 19th century literary classic, but in the hills of Italy’s northern Piedmont region, Roberto Anfosso is just commuting to work. For the last ten years, the 63-year-old doctor has been making his house calls to patients on horseback in the rural region of Verduno, known for its wine and hazelnuts. “This is one of the pockets of Italy with the longest life expectancy. The patients I visit are at least 70 years old. The oldest is 104,” said the doctor.

The galloping doctor is now well-known across the area. Anfosso says that horseback is his preferred mode of transport for routine, non-urgent visits, such as monitoring diabetes and checking blood pressure and he covers about 40 miles per week on his equine express. His first patient visit on horseback came by chance. While mapping out a route for an afternoon ride, he received a call to attend to a patient and decided to combine his passion with his calling. When he arrived, the patient was so surprised he initially refused to let the doctor in!

The History of the Italian Road

A new book titled “La Strada Racconta” (The Road Tells), was recently presented at Milan’s La Triennale art and design museum. Along with a photographic exhibition, it is part of celebrations for the 90-year history of ANAS – the Italian highway agency. The book is divided into chapters for each decade, covering the years of the Fascist regime, WWII, the birth of the Italian Republic, the economic boom, mass motorization, the Dolce Vita, the Years of Lead, Italy of the 1990s and through the modern Italian roads. “The beautiful images gathered in this book show once again how vital Italy is,” commented one of the curators of the exhibit. “Perhaps next we shall show the rich and fabulous history of our vehicles!” Hmmm…

A Really Big Bunny

If you happen to visit a hilltop called Colletto Fava near the town of Artesina in the Piedmont region, you might notice that one of the ridges is pink in color and doesn’t seem to match the rest of the grass in texture, either. That’s because it’s not grass – it’s a 200-foot long stuffed rabbit of a distinctly-colored Pepto Bismol hue, affectionately named ‘Pinky.’ Built by a group of artists, the bunny did not originate as an Easter-themed creation and although the Easter Bunny is not a time-honored character of the holiday in Italy, it seems fitting to mention Pinky during this Easter season. Artesina is not a tourist destination, but if you would like to visit the enormous rabbit, the town is about a two-hour drive from Turin.

Manetti Bros Score Big at Donatellos

‘Ammore e Malavita’ (Love and Bullets) by the Manetti Bros was the big winner at the 63rd edition of the David di Donatello Awards in Rome last week. The musical comedy claimed five awards, including Best Picture and the Best Supporting Actress prize for Claudia Gerini. The Best Lead Actress honor went to Jasmine Trinca for her performance in Sergio Castellito’s ‘Fortunata,’ while Renato Carpentieri won the Best Lead Actor award for Gianni Amelio’s ‘La Tenerezza.’