28 November 2007

Important Rome cave find; white truffle; transport strike

The most exciting piece of news from Italy in the last few weeks has been the announcement of a hugely important discovery in Rome. In the honeycomb of the Palatine hill, archaeologists have uncovered (by accident) what is thought to be the Lupercal: the cave revered in Ancient Rome as the site of the mythical founding of the city, where Romulus and Remus were suckled by the wolf.
> BBC: 'Mythical Roman cave' unearthed (article, photos and video footage)

Another discovery - less momentous but still thrilling to foodie circles - was made in the soil of Tuscany, not by archaeologists but by a dog. The white truffle located by Rocco, a mongrel, weighs 1.5kg and is the largest to be unearthed since the 1950s. Traditionally it is pigs who find truffles, the difficulty is that apparently they tend to eat the truffle. Dogs, being cleverer, can be trained not to eat the precious fungi.
> Guardian: Italian mongrel leads owner to record-breaking truffle

And lastly; if you are planning to travel on public transport in Italy on Friday, be warned. A strike (sciopero) has been announced, although it remains to be seen how many workers will adhere (strike on a Friday = long weekend with the family), or if it will actually go ahead. It is due to affect most public transport, including railways, from 9am-5pm, with possible variations in cities. Airports may be affected between 11am and 3pm The smaller airports used by budget airlines, and their dedicated bus services, are often functioning as normal. But check the websites of any transport firms you are planning to travel with and be prepared for delays.
> Italian transport ministry: information on strikes

And finally, if you've had problems catching a taxi in Rome lately, or have seen angry taxi drivers blocking squares, it's because taxi drivers have been protesting over the issuing of licences.

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