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lifestyle, people, Places

Venice things to avoid. Venice itself?

2017-06-18 • By

There are many travel blog posts about Venice things to avoid. This one is different.

My tip? Don’t visit Venice. Really, you shouldn’t. I know I write a post about my last visit in Venice. It is exactly after that I started to follow blogs and Facebook pages about the situation in Venice. I know you’ll love to go there, but I’m sure you want to be an aware tourist. You might decide not to visit Galapagos or mount Everest to preserve them. The same way, you may decide to avoid Venice. Here’s some reasons why.

venice things to avoid

Venice is beautiful, but I won’t ever live there. 

This sentence in Italy has become “the” commonplace, the example to explain what a commonplace is. Ironically someone could say among Venice things to avoid the first is a resident. But they have reasons if they’re not so kind with tourists. While tourists are more and more every year, Venice is becoming less and less populated.

people, Places

Villa Balbianello. A house on lake Como Hollywood loves.

2017-01-17 • By

In Lenno, a small country on lake Como, you’ll find villa Balbianello.

As many others villas on Lake Como, It was the buen retiro of its many rich owners and but it was also the set for some scenes of Star Wars – Episode Two and Casino Royale with Daniel Craig.

Villa Balbianello has one of the most spectacular and romantic views on the lake Como. It has an interesting story and its garden is a jewel. I worth a visit even if you’re not a Star Wars or James Bond fan.

Una foto pubblicata da Paola Marzorati (@paolamar22) in data:

books, people

Italian books: the almond picker

2016-09-11 • By

Italian books. My review of the “the almond picker” by British-Sicilian novelist Simonetta Agnello Hornby.

After Elena Ferrante and Andrea Camilleri are you still searching in the Italian books shelf? Today I’m reccomending The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby. Actually I wouldn’t put it among the Italian books. Its place is in the Sicilian books shelf, if there was one. “La Mennulara” is not an Italian word, is the Sicilian way to call female workers who picked almonds from ground after men had beaten the trees.

La Mennulara, The Almond Picker, is the nickname of the main character of this book.

The story begins the day of her death, on September 23th 1963 in the village Roccacolomba.(Roccacolomba is fictional, don’t try to book a hotel there).

Italian books

The woman, “Mennù”, started working as almond picker at the age of six to help the poor family. Mennù had come a long way from the almond field. As a teenager she became servant of rich family Alfallipe.  Later she started to manage the family estates on behalf of the lazy Orazio, saving them from bankruptcy. At Orazio’s death, she took care of his wife. She obliged the three selfish and spoiled children to visit the mother by passing them a monthly wage. Yes, because La Mennulara, an illiterate waitress, died surprisingly rich.

lifestyle, people

Fertility day. About a disastrous health campaign and motherhood in Italy

2016-09-04 • By

My thougts about “fertility day”, an initiative of Italian health ministry showing how motherhood in Italy is still permeated by old stereotypes.

A disastrous communication campaign to launch the so-called fertility day on 22nd of September made Italian women mad.

Fertility day was meant to inform women and men on how to protect their procreative health. Of course there’s the low birthrate of Italy behind it. This might cause in the future problems of sustainability of our healthcare and welfare system. Everybody knows that. It not scandalous at all: it’s a real problem many other EU countries are trying to address.

The problem was that the fertility day campaign was completely wrong. Do you think they gave information on how to avoid infections? About access to in vitro fertilization techniques? Not at all.

It has been mostly addressed towards women and based on the message: tick tock, tick tock, hey your getting older, hurry up to get pregnant or you’ll miss your chance.

It featured an image of a woman brandishing a hourglass, with the claim “beauty is ageless, fertility isn’t”.

fartility day

not a joke: the real image of the campaign

A wave of rage raised among women who reminded on social networks the best way to boost fertility: permanent jobs, options to rent or buy a house with acceptable costs, more public kidergartens, no fear to be fired after maternity leave.

You can read more in this article in Quartz magazine, but also CBS, NYpost and Huffington Post talked about it.

The only effect was to make everyone mad. They bothered women who are delaying pregnancy for external private or economic reasons: precarious job, no stable relationship, lack of external help. They made angry infertile couple for to health problems, gays and lesbians, women who are not willing to have children. For those the campaign was not only ridiculous, but frankly offensive. Even women with children got mad, reminding that after you gave birth you are left alone with the only help of family and private baby-sitters. (Yes in Italy grandparents are the real welfare: without them most of the families will simply not exists).

I know really a few women in their thirties delaying pregnancy if they have a job, avhouse and a stable relationship because they go clubbing every night or they got workaholic trying to become the next Marissa Mayers (oops I forgot she is a CEO and also a mother).

I think it’s the worst health communication campaign ever. The claim “fertility is a common good” was particularly annoying for it’s reminding a sad page of our history, when fascists asked to do more children for a stronger nation.

When I saw it I couldn’t believe it. How could they be so stupid? But I have to say it did not completely surprised me. You know why?

It’s nothing different from the usual idea of motherhood in Italian society.

Motherhood in Italy in seen in a contradictory way. Superficially, we idealize it. But if you go deeper, I believe that Italian society misleads the complexity of motherhood with the simple act of taking care.

lifestyle, people

Are Italian scientists breaking bad?

2016-07-25 • By

Virologist Ilaria Capua has just left Italy after being acquitted from the charge of illegal virus trafficking. Why do Italian people distrust Italian scientists?

Today I’m going to tell you a sad story. It’s sad even though it has an happy ending. On July 5th one of the top Italian scientists, virologist Ilaria Capua, has been acquitted after a judicial investigation longer than a decade.

(First, three books about science, politics and justice).

Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science

Contro la modernità.Le radici della cultura antiscientifica in Italia.

Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left

This is the good news. What should make Italians sad is just before the end of this interminable story, Dr. Capua decided to left Italy. She resigned as president of the veterinary institute she led and from the Italian parliament to accept the role of director at the One Health Centre of Excellence for Research and Training in Florida.

Italian scientists

Ilaria Capua

What was the investigation about? The story began in 2005, after a U.S. inquiry. An Italian manager of a pharma company was suspected to have illegally shipped a virus strand to Italy. Italian investigators mainly used tap recordings of telephone calls.

Nobody knew it until 2014. Some information leaked to the magazine l’Espresso, which titled its issue “virus traffickers”. Ilaria Capua was accused of illegal trafficking of virus and even attempted epidemic.

The whole story is summarized in an article (here the English version) by the journalist Paolo Mieli, on national newspaper Corriere della Sera. One of the few artcles on this topic in Italy written before the sentence.