Friday, January 27, 2012

Italy on strike

In Italy you soon become aware of strikes as they are fairly frequent. The word for strike in Italian is sciopero.

Those living in or travelling to Italy should be aware that several strikes are underway and others are planned for the near future. From public transport and taxis to university students and public services, you'll need to keep strike action in mind when venturing out and about.

For news on strikes in the public sector visit the Trade Union website associated with the CGIL Organisation (only in Italian) or for information on transport strikes in Italy visit the Ministry of Transport website  (only in Italian).

Current strike action:

On Thursday 26 January the Italian Railways “Ferrovie dello Stato” will strike from 21:00 for 24 hours. A similar timed Air transport strike is also planned;

In Rome, on Friday 27 January, a general urban transport strike has been called from 08:30 to 17:00 and from 20:00 to the end of service daily service operations.

Maritime Transport will strike on 27 January from 21:00 for 24 hours.

There are also plans for a ten day petrol station strike (dates and more specific details to be confirmed).
Call the Trenitalia call centre or go to the relevant website for further information (call centre Trenitalia 00 39 06 6847 5475; or

Other strikes could be called at little or no notice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Italian Cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks

This past week the news worldwide has been full of features regarding the tragic sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship here in Italy. I don't want to talk about who was to blame but instead take a moment to think of those poor souls that went down with the ship and send appreciation for the rescue services that saved so many lives.

I can only imagine what it could have been like to be aboard the ship when it hit the rocks, when it began to tilt and ultimately, when it could no longer resist and sank beneath the sea. Italy's Titanic.

Friday, January 6, 2012

La Befana

January 6th is when La Befana visits children in Italy bringing them stockings full of sweets if they've been good and lumps of coal if they've been bad.

This is a song about La Befana by Italian singer Gianni Morandi (1978)

The lyrics:

"La befana trullall√†" 

Trullala' Trullala' Trullala'.
La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte,
con la calza appesa al collo,
col carbone, col ferro e l'ottone.
Sulla scopa per volare.
Lei viene dal mare.
Lei viene dal mare.

E la neve scendera'
sui deserti del Maragia',
dall'Alaska al Canada'.
E partire lei dovra'
e cantando partira'
da ciociara si vestira',
con il sacco arrivera',
la bufera vincera'.
E cantando trullala',
la Befana arrivera'.
Trulalla' Trullala' Trullala'.

Un bambino, grande come un topolino,
si è infilato nel camino,
per guardarla da vicino.
Quando arriva la Befana
senza denti
salta, balla, beve il vino.
Poi di nascosto s' allontana
con la notte appiccicata alla sottana.

E un vento caldo soffiera'
sui deserti del Maragia',
dall'Alaska al Canada'.
Solo una stella brillera'
e seguirla lei dovra',
per volare verso il nord
e la strada è lunga
ma la bufera vincera'.
E cantando Trullala',
la Befana se ne va.
E cantando Trullala'
Truallalero Trullala'
Trullala' Trullala' Trullala'

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Italy in 2011

2011 was a big year for Italy, full of both high and low points. Here's a few of the things that shaped the country in this past year;

  • Italy celebrates its 150th birthday. Countrywide celebrations marked 150 years of unification.
  • Italy came 2nd place in the Eurovision song Contest after a long absence from the competition. Raphael Gualazzi - Follia D'Amore 

  • After dominating Italian politics for over 17 years, Silvio Berlusconi was forced from office. He managed for years to stay despite numerous scandals (tax fraud, corruption, paying for sex with a minor...and these are just the ones he's currently involved in). The European Debt Crisis was too much though and his elective career came to an end in November.
  • Mario Monti became the new Prime Minister of Italy and formed the current non-party government. Big changes are ahead.
  • A year full of sporting victories for Italy including the huge success of the Italian fencing team in the 2011 European and World Championships.
  • A year of great sporting losses too including the death of Moto GP star Marco Simoncelli who fell from his bike during a race in Malaysia.
  • Nature hit hard this year with Italy suffering several earthquakes and floods.
What will happen in 2012? Hopefully Olympic success for the talented Italian team and some economic improvement (although realistically things are likely to get worse better they get better). At least Italian shouldn't be headline news for once due to the suspect behavior of the country's leader. Berlusconi maybe be gone from the top but he definitely left his mark.


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