The Italian government has overwhelmingly backed a new set of laws aimed at cutting down the vast amounts of food wasted in the country each year. A bill passed by 181 Senators will encourage families to use “doggy bags” to take home unfinished food after eating out and removes hurdles for farmers and supermarkets seeking to donate food to charity.
The goal to cut the five million tonnes of food wasted every year by at least one million tonnes was only opposed by two Senators and abstained from by one when put to a vote in Italy’s upper house on 2 August. Ministers have said that food waste is costing Italy’s business and households more than €12 billion (£10 billion) a year, or about 1 per cent of GDP.
And since the country has a public debt exceeding 135 per cent of GDP – a figure which has increased by a fifth since 2003– and a youth unemployment rate of an estimated 40 per cent with millions of Italians in poverty, the levels of food waste are considered unjustifiable.
Indeed, Italy’s highest court ruled only three months ago that stealing small amounts of food because of hunger was not a crime. The new laws seek to make donating food easier by allowing businesses to record donations in a simple form every month.
The early 2016 news that Cinque Terre would be imposing caps on the number of tourists allowed to access the picturesque towns was "just a provocation," admits Patrizio Scarpellini, director of Cinque Terre National Park, but “it had reached a point that we had to do something.”
That something — a dramatic statement to the press by the park’s president, Vittorio Alessandro — has raised awareness of the problems faced by this UNESCO Heritage Site, but the solution is much more complex than closing a door. Cinque Terre is a stretch of particularly rugged coastline in the Italian region of Liguria, halfway between the busy ports of Genova and Livorno. Day-trippers from the cruises that stop here stream into the five towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, which grow up from the sea into a steep hillside that has been transformed, over the centuries, into terraced parcels of agricultural land.
Carve out a spot along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for a family-friendly celebration filled with colorful floats and rousing musical performances. The parade honors Italian-Americans’ contributions to New York City and draws around million spectators and 35,000 marchers. The parade travels from 44th Street to 72nd Street and marching bands will perform along its length, and there’s also a “red carpet” area between 67th and 69th Streets for stage acts—special passes are needed to get up close. For more information, visit columbuscitizensfd.org.
Pittsburgh, PA Saturday, October 7th
The Saturday before Columbus Day always turns Pittsburgh’s Little Italy into one big celebration. And even though the old Bloomfield neighborhood is affectionately known as “Little Italy,” there’s actually nothing small about the annual Columbus Day parade. Thousands line Liberty Avenue to see everyone from Pittsburgh politicians to pint-sized pageant queens. The 32nd annual parade will step off at 11 a.m. at Bloomfield Liberty Avenue.
Chicago, IL Monday, October 9th
For nearly half a century, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans has sponsored Chicago’s Columbus Day celebration. Festivities begin with a mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and a wreath laying ceremony at the Columbus Statue located in Arrigo Park, followed by the parade. The parade of over 150 floats, bands and marching units travels down State Street, from Wacker Drive to VanBuren Street. Many prominent Italian-Americans have been honorary parade Grand Marshals, including Ernest Borgnine and Tommy LaSorda.
Cleveland, OH Monday, October 9th
The 65th annual Cleveland Columbus Day Parade will step off at noon on Monday, Oct. 9. The parade will take place in Little Italy, where it moved in 2003 after decades downtown. The 15th parade in Little Italy will begin at Murray Hill and Cornell Roads and proceed north to East 125th Street and Fairview, then turn north on Fairview and march back to Mayfield past Holy Rosary Church. The parade will feature more than 100 groups, including marching bands from Mayfield, Garfield Heights, Holy Name and other high schools. The Knights of Columbus, local Italian associations and Little Italy Montessori school will also march in the parade.
San Francisco, CA Sunday, October 8th
Columbus Day’s three-day holiday weekend delivers San Francisco’s oldest civic event — the nation’s first Italian-American Columbus Day Parade. Introduced in 1869, the free event has continued growing, with colorful marching bands, floats and plenty of people waving red, white and green flags to celebrate Italian pride. The Italian Heritage Parade kicks off from Fisherman’s Wharf beginning at 12:30 p.m. and finishes in North Beach on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Spectators are treated to dozens of handcrafted parade floats from Bay Area businesses, community groups, Italian organizations, local high school Italian clubs and marching bands. Traditional Italian musicians and performance artists led by grand marshals are on show, as well as special character appearances by Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella and her court.
Baltimore, MD Sunday, October 8, 2017
This is the 127th Columbus Commemoration in Baltimore. The parade begins 2 pm Parade on Key Highway and ends in Little Italy. Join Baltimore's Italian community in the longest-running parade and commemoration in the country to honor Christopher Columbus... Bring the family! PARADE CHAIRMAN: Al Massa, email@example.com PARADE DAY COORDINATOR: Gina Piscopo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tourism in Italy boomed in summer 2017, with an increase in visitor numbers expected to continue throughout the colder months. In total, almost 50 million people spent the night at an Italian hotel during June, July, and August this year.
The exact number was 48.3 million, according to figures shared by Italian hotel trade association Federalberghi and the Cultural Ministry, and represented a two percent increase compared to last year.
On top of that, a further three million spent the night at an Airbnb accommodation, a huge 20 percent increase year-on-year. Seaside resorts reported a dramatic rise in visitors, with 16 percent more people visiting beach resorts this summer than in the same period in 2016.
But tourists were also attracted by culture, and museums saw a 12.5 percent increase in visitor numbers, with Puglia leading the way.
In Italy, natural disasters are fairly common... Earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, floods, even volcanoes erupting. Americans give selflessly to these causes to help. Now our country needs help.
I'm putting out a call to Italian citizens and Italian-Americans to dig into their pockets--even if it's only a small amount--and donate.
Over 50 inches of rain and still counting... dam waters being released into rivers and creeks... homes, business and even rescue centers are being flooded.
It's time to do something!
Here's where you can help... Click the links below.
If you have a home in Texas or a nearby state that you can offer to a displaced family for free, AirBnB is waiving fees and has a special link to set up your offer.
Here's how you can prevent being scammed while trying to donate to help victims of Hurricane Harvey... Contact Charity Navigator. They list all legitimate charities along with ratings of each that are taking part in the recovery effort.
Are there Italians in Texas?
Of course there are. Italian heritage has spread all over the world. The 1990 census placed the number at 441,256, while the 2000 census put the number of Tex-Italians at 363,354. Although that shows a drop, there has been an influx of people rushing to Texas in recent years to fill jobs, so the number may be considerably higher. Houston especially has a large Italian-American population of nearly 100,000 and Dallas over 60,000.
Like Christopher Columbus himself, Italians were often in the employ of the Spanish court during that early period of discovery. Some soldiers of fortune came from northern Italy, but the larger numbers were from Sicily and Naples, provinces that were under the Spanish crown at various times. Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's trek across the High Plains in 1541 included soldiers with the Italian surnames of Loro, Napolitano and Romano, among others.
When Texas became settled territory in the late 1700s, individual Italian merchants began to arrive. Among them was Vincente Micheli who came to Nacogdoches from Brescia. In 1836, when Texas won independence from Mexico, Italian-born Prospero Bernardi was one of the Texans who fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. The older cities of San Antonio, Nacogdoches and Victoria have Italian families who date back to this period.
In 1880 Italian farmers settled in the flood-prone area of the Brazos Valley between Hearne and Bryan--by 1905 the town of Bryan had 3,000 Italians. In the same period of time, the Texas Pacific Coal Company hired thousands of Italian immigrants to work in their mines in the Fort Worth area. By 1910 Burleson and Robertson Counties also had large numbers of Italian residents. The Qualias Val Verde Winery in Del Riois the oldest licensed winery in Texas and was started by Frank and Mary Qualia from Milan.
Italian firefighters working through the night, sometimes digging by hand, freed a seven-month-old baby and then his two older brothers from the rubble of their home that collapsed when a 4.0-magnitude quake struck the resort island of Ischia during the height of tourist season. In the hard-hit town of Casamicciola, dozens of firefighters worked for 14 hours to dig the Toscano brothers out of their home, where they were trapped alone after their father was rescued and their pregnant mother managed to free herself.
This viewer worked, but the sun was about 1/4" in diameter
If you're planning on viewing today's total eclipse of the sun in Italy, forget it. Not happening. Only Italian-Americans (and the rest of Americans) have that privilege today (and a small part of western Canada). But don't lose hope. If you really want to see a total eclipse in Italy, it will just take some special planning... and perhaps a time machine.
The last total solar eclipse visible from Italy occurred in the twentieth century, on February 15, 1961. So, a time machine would prove handy here. You might also travel back to see a partial eclipse on August 11, 1999 or October 3, 2005.
To see the next solar eclipse from Italy, log onto Bookings.com and make your reservations for August 2nd 2027. Let's see... I'll be 77, hopefully I'll have new knees by then and will be pretty spry for another Italy Voyage.
Beyond that, I suppose my son might book a flight to the Bel Paese to witness the solar eclipse of September 3, 2081. He' be 78 by then... perhaps he'll have some new knees and God knows what other body parts that they'll be replacing with future technologies.
The rest will have to be viewed by my great, great, great... er... great? - grandchildren on July 6, 2187 or May 16, 2227.
Of course, if we had a time machine we could take the ultimate Voyage and see all of them now... or before... or later?
Oh... and unlike my Photoshop montage above, one thing no one will be seeing in Italy is spaghetti and meatballs. It simply doesn't exist there...
--Jerry Finzi (Getting out the cardboard solar eclipse viewer Lucas and I slapped together for this event...)
We built a binocular unit (one lens blocked) that projected a 4" image, sharp enough to see sunspots!
Experience the Italian lifestyle, heritage, cuisine, art, music, language and traditions, while learning how our own Grand Voyage to Italy affected our lives back at home--per sempre--forever. Andiamo, take a Grand Voyage with us...