italy

A Dream Vacation

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What's in a name? For one woman, a trip around the world.

28-year-old Jordan Axni had planned a dream vacation with his girlfriend Elizabeth Gallagher. It included stops in Italy, France, India and Thailand. The only road block? The two broke up before they were set to leave.

So rather than deal with the hassle of changing the name on tickets with multiple airlines Axani went on the hunt for a replacement. He put out a call on the website reddit looking for someone with the same name and a valid Canadian passport. He received thousands of responses, from both men and women, some even offering to change their name.  read more »

Mafia Wars

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Sometimes a day at the beach; isn’t such a day at the beach.

For two years alleged mafia boss Roberto Matalone has evaded police and a prison cell. But a recent desire for some sunlight proved to be his undoing. Last week the 35-year-old Mafioso headed to a beach in southern Italy dressed in shorts and a baseball cap. But no sooner had he raised his umbrella police officers swarmed the beach and arrested him.

Matalone is accused of being part of the inner circle of the Pesce clan; one of the most powerful and notorious branches of the Calabria mob. This arrest is the latest in a crackdown against the Italian mafia which police say controls about 80% of drug trafficking into Europe. An illegal business worth 27 billion euros a year.  read more »

A Smooth Recession

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Sometimes a crash is not the same as a crush.

I recently spent time in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany. There I spoke with Nicolo Incisa; president of Sassicaia winery. In Italy; as in most countries, the down economy has hit business and industries hard. And while tourism to his country is down Incisa says his business is up.

“I think that during crisis this one, the people are more careful what they buy. They go for quality they don’t risk buying wine they don’t know.”

Incisa says his wine has developed a good reputation and people know what they are getting when they buy it. He says for this reason his business has grown for the past four years.

“Demand is growing which is a little surprising but we are very pleased.”  read more »

Beauty and the Beast

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The beauty of Italy is breathtaking. But a beast is devouring this country's spirit.

Today much of the Italian culture finds its outlet in the thousands of wineries that dot the landscape. Some of the world’s great wines are produced here; Borolo, Brunello, Chianti. And Sassacaica; wine from a family that raised horses for a living and made the drink for themselves.

After so many rave reviews they decided to take it public, now connoisseurs call it extraordinary. Their success is a testament to capitalism and private enterprise.

But now it seems Italy has lost its way. Debate rages between the socialist models where government takes care of workers from cradle to grave; and the conservative model, where private enterprise runs the economy.  read more »

A Wine Induced Story

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Some Italian winemakers have an unusual side dish for their latest blends.

In an effort to re-new interest in reading, the wine maker Santa Margherita is kicking off the sixth year of a contest they launched with an Italian book store. It allows amateur writers to submit a short story on a wine related subject. The winners will then see their stories published in the form of tiny booklets. Those booklets will be attached to the back of Santa Margherita’s best-selling bottles.  read more »

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Rebellion

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Italy is trying to balance its budget; but the plan has some cities striking out on their own.

City mayors from all over Italy are upset about the country’s plan to merge small towns to balance out the budget by 2013. The $65.3 billion budget also calls for significant cuts to local government funding. Under this proposal the town of Filettino is set to merge with nearby Trevi.  read more »

A Divorce Fair

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An increasing number of Italian couples are calling it quits and now there’s an event catering to the soon to be single.

Earlier this week Italy held its first divorce fair aimed at helping divorced couples start a new and happy life. Franco Zanetti is the organizer of the fair says smiling and acceptance are key factors to the fair which also offers serious, practical advice for what can often be a dramatic situation. Fair goers can find a little help in areas like planning the divorce, anti-stalking help, financial advice and tips for creating your newly single look.  read more »

The McItaly

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A fast food giant is teaming up with the Italian government and the result isn’t sitting well with food lovers.  read more »

The Dark Day My Blackberry Fell Into The Toletta

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When I first asked my wife if she could take enough time off for a long anticipated vacation trip to Italy, she said “only if I can keep in touch with the office and my clients”.

No problem, I thought. Plenty of my golfing buddies travel on business around the world. But I should have remembered that they have “people” who handle the details. I was on my own.

My descent into international telephone and e-mail madness began with a series of trips to the local ATT Wireless store to test drive various products guaranteed to keep them and my wife in business, while driving me nuts.  read more »