23 June 2006

Sicily underwater volcano

Underwater volcano found by Italy (BBC News)

As if Sicily didn't already face enough natural risks!

One of Europe's largest volcanoes is also an underwater volcano off the coast of Italy: Mount Marsili.
- Italian volcanoes

22 June 2006

Italian football

As Italy take to the pitch in their crucial Group E World Cup match, Italy is holding its breath for another reason. Later today the nation will learn the next installment of the football corruption scandal which has gripped the country for the last month. Centred around Italy's most successful club, Juventus, this investigation could see top players and clubs penalised for match-fixing, referee-planting, illegal betting and who knows what else.

Our sibling websites, Football in Italy and Football in Rome, have long maintained that something was amiss in the world of Serie A. Indeed, almost any Italian would have told you their suspicions of Juventus (typical chant from opposition fans: 'Ladri, ladri' - thieves, thieves). But naive English friends laughed at this 'paranoia'. Now we know it was probably all true. And only the tip of the iceberg. We've seen too many suspect goals and refereeing errors with our own eyes to be surprised, whatever emerges. We're just keeping our fingers crossed for Italy Heaven's favourite team.

A good BBC resume of the scandal so far: Shamed Italian clubs to be named

UPDATE: Now we know: Serie A quartet will stand trial . A genuinely thorough investigation could - if any of the allegations are true - bring down the entire structure of Italian football. And create extra insoluble problems - if the matches were fixed, shouldn't we all be entitled to refunds of our season ticket prices, of merchandise, of television fees and so on? An impossible situation. And the tentacles doubtless spread into other areas of Italian sport, business and politics. We suspect that, as in other corruption cases, a discreet line will be drawn under the matter after a handful of scapegoats have been penalised. We only wish our club wasn't set to be one of the scapegoats.

20 June 2006

Sleaze in Italy

After the football-corruption case which shook the nation, here's Italy's latest scandal:

Italy's Prince Victor arrested for 'corruption and pimping'

8 June 2006

Italy on the BBC

Earlier this year, on a bus in Cornwall, I was chatting with a much older lady. We talked about Venice, and she praised the BBC's recent series 'It was presented by – what was his name?' 'Francesco da Mosto' I prompted. 'Ooh, yes. He was very – '(she broke off, blushed and giggled girlishly) '- he knew it though!'

After the great popular success of their 'Venice by a Venetian' concept series, the BBC has extended the deal to include all of Italy (rather ironically, since da Mosto spent the first series emphasising that he was a Venetian rather than an Italian. ) It should be an entertaining and colourful look at Italy for UK viewers.

Francesco's Italy - BBC2 Sun 11 Jun, 9:00 pm