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.

Places, stories

Leonardo da Vinci vineyard: reborn after an incredible story

2016-06-26 • By

Visit Leonardo da Vinci vineyard in Milan, incredibly still there after five centuries.

 

This story starts in a day of January, 1920.

A gentlemen is walking in the surroundings of Santa Maria delle Grazie church in Milan. He’s carrying a bag and looks into the the construction sites of the new district. Suddenly he looks excited, extracts from the bag a strange machine and points it towards the workers who are cutting the trees to liberate the ground for the new buildings.

The man is Luca Beltrami, the most important expert on Leonardo da Vinci. The strange equipment he’s got is a camera. Beltrami is searching for the lost da Vinci vineyard: Leonardo, while painting and projecting inventions, apparently also made wine. The scholar deduced the location of the vineyard from historical documents. In that cold day he finally finds it. Exactly where it is supposed to be.

Beltrami stops a while. He imagines Leonardo da Vinci visiting his vines after a day of work at the Last Supper, just a few meters away.

Leonardo came from a family of wine makers. He got the vineyard as a present from Ludovico il Moro, duke of Milan.

da Vinci vineyard

films

They call me Jeeg. A film review.

2016-06-14 • By

They call me Jeeg is a low budget sci-fi movie which was the 2016 sensation in Italian film industry.

Oh, Rome! Thinking of Rome do you imagine yourself speeding on a Vespa and eating ice cream sitting on the Spanish steps, surrounded by glorious monuments?

It’s time to see Rome from a different angle.

They call me Jeeg is a sci-fi movie set in Rome and with a Roman superhero. Here‘s the trailer.

The movie begins with the main character, a small time criminal named Enzo (played by actor Claudio Santamaria, you spotted him in 007 – Casino Royale)  running away from police. He cross Sant’Angelo bridge and dives into the Tiber, where he gets in contact with some radioactive material abandoned in the river.

they call me jeeg

Days later he discovers to have superpowers. It’s a classic.

food, language, lifestyle

How to order Italian coffee in Italy.

2016-05-22 • By

A definitive guide on how to order coffee in Italy.

Ordering an Italian coffee is something non-Italians get apparently confused about, at least counting the number of posts written on this topic. There’s even a book called “How to order an Italian coffee in Italy” and comments on Amazon say it’s a must-have for travellers.

Speaking about coffee, or food in general, Italians are often religiously bound to their traditions. We have one of the best cuisines, we tend to consider all the rest rubbish, we want to teach to the world how a perfect drink or meal is supposed to be. The same is for coffee. So I understand you don’t feel comfortable in ordering a coffee in an Italian bar.

Italian coffeeThere are a lot of blog posts listing what’s allowed and forbidden about coffee in Italy. Allowed, forbidden…wouldn’t it be we are too rigid? Anyway, there are things about ordering coffee in Italy you should know, because some coffee styles are simply not available. But there are also points to be debunked, because they’re not so strict.

Ready to enjoy your Italian coffee?

Places

Italy from above: 8 places revealing their shape from the sky.

2016-05-15 • By

Thanks to satellites and bird-eye pictures you can discover Italy from above and see some places that reveal their real shape. Here’s an alternative tour of Italy you can take directly from your desktop.

Looking at things from above is always interesting.

In a famous scene from one of my favourite movies, Dead Poets Society, the English teacher John Keating played by Robin Williams jumps on the desk and asks a question:

– Why do I stand up here? Anybody?

Student: -To feel taller!

– No! Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.

Italy from above 1

 

Thanks to satellites and drones we have the opportunity to see literally the world from above.

Just search on YouTube Italy from above and you will find plenty of bird eye views, like this.

 

Another way discover awesome places just sitting at your desktop is Google Maps. There are some things that reveal their real shape only when you watch them from the sky.

Here’s ten places in Italy which shape you can discover only from above.