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Weekly News – Feb 01, 2018

Outrage Over Restaurant Bill

The mayor of Venice has voiced outrage over the $1,347 bill that four Japanese tourists had to pay for four steaks, a plate of fried fish, water and service. The four students complained to police after getting the four-figure bill at a restaurant near St. Mark’s Square. Italian media did not name the restaurant, but said it was owned by a Chinese woman and run by an Egyptian. The mayor has vowed to get justice. “We will thoroughly examine this episode, we’ll check to see if the complaint was made properly,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted. “If this disgraceful episode is confirmed, we’ll do all we can to punish those responsible. We are for justice – always!”

What a Surprise

While wading in Rome’s fountains is prohibited and punishable by a fine, a visitor to the Eternal City went much further. A woman shocked onlookers when she took a skinny dip in the famed Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona. The 33 year-old woman from Siena claimed that she had no place to stay while in Rome and decided that the fountain was as good a place as any to bathe. The surprised and startled crowd surrounding the popular tourist spot gasped as she stripped down and then plunged into the icy waters of the Bernini masterpiece. She has been cited for public indecency.

Bologna Most Beautiful University in Europe

As well as being the world’s oldest, established in 1088, the University of Bologna is the most beautiful university in Europe, according to the Times Higher Education Supplement. In addition to its stellar faculty, the University contains beautifully designed buildings and artwork, much of it dating back to the Italian Renaissance. Bologna counts among its alumni Pope Alexander VI and Enzo Ferrari. Its faculty has included Guglielmo Marconi and Dante Alighieri.

Avalanches in South Tyrol

Over 160 people were evacuated from South Tyrol last Tuesday after a series of avalanches in the region. Helicopters were sent to pick up 80 tourists staying in the town of Vallelunga in the Bolzano province, after an avalanche struck nearby. The snow covered one house up to the second floor, but remarkably, the inhabitants, who were on the ground floor were not injured. Another 80 or so people in other houses in the area were also flown to safety. Authorities raised the avalanche warning to maximum for parts of South Tyrol after a weekend of heavy snow and strong winds. Villages in Val Senales had been cut off for three days after heavy snow forced authorities to close the only access road. Over 100 tourists were stranded before workers were able to clear the route. The risk of avalanches remains high in numerous Alpine portions of the Piedmont, where a large avalanche on Monday night blocked the highway between Chiesa and San Michele. Meanwhile, the road to the ski resort of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley has reopened.

Finally – Italians in Formula E

The FIA Formula E Championship, the electric street racing series, has attracted some of the biggest names in automotive manufacturing. But despite having a championship race in Rome, sponsors and manufacturers in Italy have thus far stayed away from the revolutionary racing event. In recent weeks, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari and Chairman of Maserati, hasn’t dismissed involvement in the sport, but hasn’t put a toe in the water either. Meanwhile, the design firm most closely associated with Ferrari has just announced its involvement in the sport. Pininfarina has formed a technical alliance with the Formula E team Mahindra Racing, which gives the racing team access to its globally renowned design expertise. Pininfarina will also become a sponsor of the Formula E team. This enables the team to leverage Pininfarina’s technology expertise for the racing car currently under development for Season 5 of the Formula E Championship, which begins in December.

Tracking Solar Weather

Italians love to discuss the weather. Now a new program called SWERTO will allow the public to track storms that are out of this world – literally. The University of Rome’s physics department launched the online initiative that will allow users from all over the world to track the sun’s weather, namely in the form of solar flares. The program assesses the intensity of the flares and predicts the effects on telecommunication systems. If you stop and realize, the GPS systems are often disrupted by the sun’s activity, then it becomes apparent why governments and businesses are looking for ways to spot problems before they arise. Additionally, the next time your GPS sends you on some confusing journey, you can blame it on the solar flares.