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With efforts to patch together a Greek government looking doomed, EU policymakers warned the country it could not remain in the euro zone if it ripped up its bailout programme, and financial markets ratcheted up the pressure on the bloc.
Eight days after inconclusive elections, Greece’s political parties have failed to form a coalition and opinion polls show that anti-bailout parties would perform most strongly in a fresh vote which is likely next month.
Last ditch talks led by President Karolos Papoulias today looked unlikely to make headway after the leader of the radical leftist SYRIZA party said he would not attend and another left-wing leader refused to take part in any coalition without him.
Finland’s European affairs minister said Greece could not remain in the euro zone if it tears up its bailout deal with the EU and IMF — the central demand of SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, 37. “I think that is an impossible equation and I think in that sense it is an irresponsible statement,” Alexander Stubb said.
With Greece set to run out of money as early as next month and no new government in place to negotiate the next aid instalment, investors have begun betting that a chaotic Greek default and euro exit will happen sooner rather than later.
Talk of any member exiting the euro zone used to be a taboo for policymakers. Not any more.
Over the weekend, European Central Bank policymakers Luc Coene and Patrick Honohan both openly voiced the possibility of Greece leaving the currency bloc and concluded that it would not be fatal for the euro zone.
But there are powerful incentives for keeping Greece afloat, not least that the ECB and euro zone governments are major holders of Greek government debt.
A hard default could leave them with heavy losses and if the ECB needed recapitalising as a result, that bill would also fall on its members’ governments, with Germany first in line.
“We wish Greece will remain in the euro ... but it must respect its commitments,” European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen told a regular news briefing.
Euro zone finance ministers meeting later are expected to discuss the possibility of granting heavily indebted Spain more time to reach its budget targets, as well as Greece’s situation.
If Madrid could be cut more slack, Greek politicians will ask why not Athens too?
The biggest fear for the euro zone is that chaos in Greece could drag the much larger economies of Spain and Italy down and threaten the entire currency area’s existence, a risk markets are beginning to price in.
“If Greece moves towards exiting the euro ... the EU would then need to enlarge its bailout funds and prepare other emergency measures,” said Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank in London.
The cost of insuring Spanish government debt against default hit an all-time high today and the premium investors demand to hold Spain’s debt rather than Germany’s reached its highest point in the currency bloc’s history.
That stress did not, however, weigh too heavily on debt sales by Italy and Spain.
Italy’s borrowing costs rose at an auction but it paid less to borrow over three years than trading prices had suggested beforehand and it sold the maximum planned amount of €5.25 billion.
Spain, beset by concerns about its banking system despite moves last week to shore it up, raised €2.9 billion in 12- and 18-month Treasury bills, with yields on the shorter paper up by around a seventh from the last such sale in April.
“There’s a real risk for the market that at some point Greece will have to leave the euro if they don’t find political cohesion ... This will add to the contagion in the market and the countries that will suffer more are Spain and Italy,” ING strategist Alessandro Giansanti said.
Greek polls offer a glimmer of hope, showing a public overwhelmingly against more austerity but up to 80 per cent in favour of remaining in the euro zone.
If the mainstream parties, New Democracy and PASOK, could turn a fresh election into a referendum on euro membership and convince the public that SYRIZA would provoke Greece’s ejection, they could fare better than on May 6, when their combined vote was more than halved.
“This time, whether we like or not, they will be more like a referendum. We will have set ourselves the question whether we prefer the euro or the drachma,” centre-left daily Ethnos wrote in an editorial.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who as finance minister negotiated Greece’s second, €130 billion bailout, has pressed for its lenders to give it three years instead of two to make the necessary spending cuts to bring debt down.
Search for growth
As always, decision-making will rest first and foremost with Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has insisted that tough debt-cutting programmes are the primary route back to health for the euro zone.
Merkel conservatives suffered a crushing defeat yesterday in an election in Germany’s most populous state, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up attacks on her European austerity policies.
New French President Francois Hollande will visit Merkel in Berlin tomorrow after he is inaugurated to press for a European growth strategy. Germany has not opposed the idea but insists it cannot be funded by extra government spending that would drive debt back up.
“They should tell the Greeks that if they wish to stay in the euro they cannot avoid austerity and structural reform,” Grant said. “But to raise the Greeks’ morale the EU will have to relax Greece’s deficit reduction targets, write off much more Greek debt and think more imaginatively about how to encourage external investment in Greece. Merkel will find such policies harder to embrace than Hollande.”
Investors are already looking to the ECB to return to the fray. It created more than €1 trillion of three-year money in December and February and signalled afterwards that it had done all it could.
“We expect the ECB to ease policy, maybe through unconventional policies in coming months to support the situation in the (euro zone’s) periphery,” said Raghav Subbarao, currency strategist at Barclays.
Just as the ECB revived its bond-buying programme last year to prop up Italy when it was drawn into the crisis, so Italy is likely to mark the threshold for any fresh intervention.
Europe’s beefed-up bailout fund may have the resources to protect Spain if needed but Italy is bigger and most analysts believe it would need ECB help if sucked into the storm again.
One of Italy's top universities has sent shockwaves through the country's higher education system by announcing that from 2014 its courses will be taught exclusively in English.
The radical move by Milan's Politecnico university will, according to its rector, Giovanni Azzone, "contribute to the growth of the country". He said the strategy would attract brain power and yield the high-quality personnel that would "respond to the needs of businesses".
But the announcement has sparked a furious debate among academics and public officials. The higher education minister, Francesco Profumo, told La Stampa newspaper that he hoped other leading institutions would follow suit.
Others expressed alarm at the move. Luca Serianni, an eminent linguist at Rome's La Sapienza university, said the move was "excessive and not only in the ideological sense".
Despite having some of the oldest universities in the world in cities such as Bologna, not one Italian college appears among the world's top 200. Nepotism and closed-shop recruitment of staff have largely been blamed.
Was Shakespeare Italian? Was he born in Sicily?
This thought has perplexed many people, especially in England. It’s generated the same indignation that it would cause us to hear an allegation that Pirandello was a foreigner who had moved to Agrigento.
Over the centuries, scholars have been puzzled by Shakespeare’s profound knowledge of Italian. Shakespeare possessed an impressive familiarity with stories written by Italian authors such as Giovanni Boccaccio, Matteo Bandello, and Masuccio Salernitano. His plays contain too many accurate details about esoteric affairs in distant places, at courts, to have been written by someone “of low social standing such as Shakespeare”.
Fifteen out of thirty seven Shakespearean plays are set in Italy, which is quite amazing if one thinks that Shakespeare never set foot abroad. He never mentions Stratford in his plays, for instance, while his knowledge of Italian toponomy, art, ways of living, laws, history and traditions are things that everyone can verify by reading his plays.
In an attempt to solve the mystery of Shakespeare’s Italian leanings, one former teacher of literature has published a new hypothesis especially for people eager to hear something new about the bard.
First of all, we all agree with Prof. Juvara when he says that it is the substance of Shakespeare’s plays and its heritage that really counts and it belongs to humanity in the first place. After all, nationalities are social conventions.
In his book “Shakespeare era italiano” (2002), retired Sicilian professor Martino Iuvara claims that Shakespeare was, in fact, not English at all, but Sicilian. His conclusion is drawn from research carried out from 1925 to 1950 by two professors at Palermo University. Iuvara posits that Shakespeare was born not in Stratford in April 1564, as is commonly believed, but in Messina as Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza.
His parents were not John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, but were Dr. Giovanni Florio, and Guglielma Crollalanza, a Sicilian noblewoman.
Crollalanza, literally Crolla (Shake) lancia (Speare) according to Iuvara studied abroad and was educated by Franciscan monks who taught him Latin, Greek, and history.
Because of their Calvinist beliefs, Michelangelo Florio’s family was persecuted by the Inquisition (Messina was then under the Spanish yoke) for alleged Calvinist propaganda. It seems that Giovanni Florio had published some sort of invective against Rome and the Church. The family supposedly departed Italy during the Holy Inquisition and moved to London. It was in London that Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza decided to change his name to its English equivalent.
Luvara’s evidence includes a play written by Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza in Sicilian dialect. The play’s name is “Tanto traffico per Niente”, which can be translated into Much traffic for Nothing or Much Ado About Nothing. He also mentions a book of sayings written by a writer, one Michelangelo Crollalanza, in the sixteenth century Calvinist Northern Italy. Some of the sayings correspond to lines in Hamlet. Michelangelo’s father, Giovanni Florio, once owned a home called “Casa Otello”, built by a retired Venetian known as Otello who, in a jealous rage, murdered his wife.
In Milan, according to documents found by prof. Iuvara, Michelangelo falls in love with a 16-year-old countess belonging to the Milanese aristocracy, Giulietta. The girl’s family opposed their love, so the girl is sent to Verona (…) under the protection of the city governor. When Michelangelo reaches her there, he learns that the girl has committed suicide because of the sexual harassment of the governor, a fervent anticalvinist, who accuses Michelangelo of having murdered the girl.
After Giulietta’s death, Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza decided to flee Italy because the inquisitors had already murdered his father.
We must admit that the similarities between Michelangelo Florio Crollalanza and Shakespeare are intriguing…
Rastafarians have always regarded Ethiopia as the promised land, but Italy could rank a close second after its Supreme Court ruled that smoking or possessing cannabis is not a criminal offence but a religious act when the person doing it is a Rastafarian.
In 2007, the same court declared that cultivating even a single cannabis plant was a punishable offence. But now Italy's Court of Cassation has said Rastafarians use marijuana "not only as a medical but also as a meditative herb. And, as such [it is] a possible bearer of the psychophysical state to contemplation and prayer".
The case was brought by a man in his forties from Perugia who was sentenced to 16 months in jail plus a €4,000 fine in 2004 for possession of 97g of marijuana. The Supreme Court said the court of first appeal had failed to consider that the man, a Rastafarian, smoked marijuana according to the precepts of his religion, which, the judges said, permits the smoking of 10g per day. Rastafarians smoke the drug, said the court, "with the memory and in the belief that the sacred plant grew on the tomb of King Solomon".
The government was livid. The judgment "shatters the laws which forbid and proscribe penal sanctions for" the use of illegal drugs, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
Right-wing politicians were scathing. Senator Maurizio Gasparri said: "Today we learn a Rasta is free to go around with drugs. If somebody belonged to a religion which permitted them to eat their children, would they give them the go-ahead, too?"
But the verdict was received with joy at Rototom Sunsplash, Europe's biggest festival of reggae music, near Udine, in north-east Italy. "Finally the principle of religious pluralism is beginning to make headway," Filippo Giunta, president of the festival, said. "This judgment ... underlines again the difference between this substance and so-called 'hard' drugs, alcohol included."
Rastafarians are unlikely to refer to the substance as marijuana; they usually describe it as the wisdom weed or the holy herb.
The latter name is used because Rastafarians believe that marijuana use is sacred, following biblical texts justifying its use:
He causeth the grass for the cattle, and herb for the services of man.Psalm 104:14
…thou shalt eat the herb of the field.Genesis 3.18
…eat every herb of the land.Exodus 10:12
Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.Proverbs 15:17
Cannabis is illegal in Italy. Current legislation establishes quantitative limits of active ingredient: within those limits it is considered an administrative offense, over them it is regarded as dealing; whoever is considered to produce, sell, give or traffic every kind of substance is punished with 6–20 years of imprisonment. The years are reduced to 1-3 if the cultivation is for personal use only. However, jurisprudence is contradictory concerning growing for personal use. Medical use of substances prepared with marijuana are legal, if provided by medical prescription.
Hopefully somebody somewhere will see some sort of sense and make it one law for all....NO exceptions.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish court has begun a trial against Britain's Duchess of York for allegedly taking part in the secret filming of two orphanages in Turkey, the state-run news agency said.
Sarah Ferguson faces charges of going "against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy" of five children at one of the orphanages, the Anadolu Agency said. If convicted, she could receive a maximum sentence of 22 1/2 years in prison.
The trial began Friday, and Ferguson did not attend the opening session, the agency said.
Ferguson, the former wife of Britain's Prince Andrew, allegedly made an undercover trip to Turkey in 2008 during which she secretly visited the two state-run orphanages along with two British TV journalists.
The footage of the five children was filmed at the Saray Rehabilitation and Care Center orphanage near Ankara and shown on the British ITV program "Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission." The secretly filmed images appeared to show the children tied to their beds or left in cribs.
The government has accused the duchess of smearing Turkey's image.
The news agency quoted her lawyer, Cansu Sahin, as saying the duchess is seeking an out-of-court settlement.
Canan Yildiz, a lawyer representing the five children and Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry, said her clients have been "harmed" and would like to join the public prosecution against Ferguson and the two British journalists who have been also indicted in the case and could be tried separately.
The court agreed to hear testimony from the five children who were filmed, but Yildiz said some of them are mentally retarded and others are handicapped, and that it would have been better if their testimony was taken at the orphanage.
Anadolu did not say when the next hearing at the Ferguson trial will be held, and the lawyers in the case could not be reached for comment on Saturday.
Have you ever wondered how the levy of taxes came about? In every Country in the world there is a tax - implemented in various ways but with one thing in common ..........everyone who draws breath has to pay them and in a lot of cases even those don't........Here is an outline how the Italian Tax system came about........
In the early days of the Roman Republic, public taxes consisted of modest assessments on owned wealth and property. The tax rate under normal circumstances was 1% and sometimes would climb as high as 3% in situations such as war. These modest taxes were levied against land, homes and other real estate, slaves, animals, personal items and monetary wealth. Taxes were collected from individuals and, at times, payments could be refunded by the treasury for excess collections. With limited census accuracy, tax collection on individuals was a difficult task at best.
By 167 B.C. the Republic had enriched itself greatly through a series of conquests. Gains such as the silver and gold mines in Spain created an excellent source of revenue for the state, and a much larger tax base through its provincial residents. By this time, Rome no longer needed to levy a tax against its citizens in Italy and looked only to the provinces for collections.
With expansion, Roman censors found that accurate census taking in the provinces was a difficult task at best. To ease the strain, taxes were assessed as a tithe on entire communities rather than on individuals. Tax assessments in these communities fell under the jurisdiction of Provincial governors and various local magistrates, using rules similar to the old system.
Tax farmers (Publicani) were used to collect these taxes from the provincials. Rome, in eliminating its own burden for this process, would put the collection of taxes up for auction every few years. The Publicani would bid for the right to collect in particular regions, and pay the state in advance of this collection. These payments were, in effect, loans to the state and Rome was required to pay interest back to the Publicani. As an offset, the Publicani had the individual responsibility of converting properties and goods collected into coinage, alleviating this hardship from the treasury. In the end, the collectors would keep anything in excess of what they bid plus the interest due from the treasury; with the risk being that they might not collect as much as they originally bid.
Tax farming proved to be an incredibly profitable enterprise and served to increase the treasury, as well as line the pockets of the Publicani. However, the process was ripe with corruption and scheming. For example, with the profits collected, tax farmers could collude with local magistrates or farmers to buy large quantities of grain at low rates and hold it in reserve until times of shortage. These Publicani were also money lenders, or the bankers of the ancient world, and would lend cash to hard-pressed provincials at the exorbitant rates of 4% per month or more.
In the late 1st century BC, and after considerably more Roman expansion, Augustus essentially put an end to tax farming. Complaints from provincials for excessive assessments and large, un-payable debts ushered in the final days of this lucrative business. The Publicani continued to exist as money lenders and entrepreneurs, but easy access to wealth through taxes was gone. Tax farming was replaced by direct taxation early in the Empire and each province was required to pay a wealth tax of about 1% and a flat poll tax on each adult. This new procedure, of course, required regular census taking to evaluate the taxable number of people and their income/wealth status. Taxation in this environment switched mainly from one of owned property and wealth to that of an income tax. As a result, the taxable yield varied greatly based on economic conditions, but theoretically, the process was fairer and less open to corruption.
In contrast, the Publicani had to focus their efforts on collecting revenues where it was most easily available due to limited time and capacity. Their efforts were mainly directed at the cash wealthy because converting properties into cash could be a difficult process. Additionally, growth of a provincial tax base went straight to the coffers of the Publicani. They had the luxury of bidding against previous tax collections and the Treasury's knowledge of increased wealth would take several collections before auction prices were raised. In this way, the Publicani increased their own wealth, but eventually the state would reap the benefit of increased collections down the line.
The imperial system of flat levies instituted by Augustus shifted the system into being far less progressive, however. Growth in the provincial taxable basis under the Publicani led to higher collections in time, while under Augustus, fixed payments reduced this potential. Tax paying citizens were aware of the exact amounts they needed to pay and any excess income remained with the communities. While there could obviously be reassessments that would adjust the taxable base it was a slow process that left a lot of room for the earning of untaxed incomes. While seemingly less effective to the state than that of the Publicani system, the new practice allowed for considerable economic growth and expansion.
As time passed each successive emperor was challenged with meeting the soaring costs of administration and financing the legions, both for national defense and to maintain loyalty. New schemes to revise the tax structure came and went throughout the Empire's history. Large inflation rates and debased coinage values, by the reign of Diocletion, led to one of the more drastic changes in the system. In the late 3rd century AD, he imposed a universal price freeze, capping maximum prices, while at the same time he reinstated the land tax on Italian landowners. Special tolls on money traders and companies were also imposed to help increase the tax collections.
Diocletion's program, in theory, should have helped ease the burden on various classes of taxpayers, but it didn't work that way in practice. As an example, additional taxes were levied on land owners after the land tax had been paid because this was now a separate tax, instead of taking into account that taxes had already been collected. The burden of paying the expected amounts was shifted from communities and individuals within them, to the local senatorial class. The Senators who would then be subject to complete ruin in the case of economic shortfall in a particular region. Following Diocletion, Constantine compounded these burdens by making the senatorial class hereditary. By so doing, all debts and economic ramifications were passed from one senatorial generation to the next, ruining entire families and never allowing for a recovery that could benefit an entire community.
Taxes in the Roman Empire, in comparison with modern times, were certainly no more excessive. In many cases they are far less per capita than anything we can compare to today. However, the strain of tax revenues was heavily placed on those who could most influence the economy and it would have dire consequences. The economic struggles that plagued the late Imperial system coupled with the tax laws certainly played a part in the demise of the world greatest empire.
In modern day Italy things don't seem to different regarding taxation - there doesn't seem like there is one Country in the world that has their taxation system right....grab as much as you can from as many people as you can....in most cases its Mr & Mrs Average that are the easy targets.....the "fat cats" know so many ways on how to avoid something that, if everyone were made to pay a reasonable amount most Governments would be rolling in it......
There are at least four different varieties of police that you’re likely to meet on an Italian road. There’s the POLIZIA which is the true State Police, then there are the CARABINIERI, which is a military Police force that performs civil Police duties. Then there is the GUARDIA DI FINANZA, the fiscal Police, but endowed with full Police powers.
Within the city limits you can meet the POLIZIA MUNICIPALE the local Constable Police.
Each Police force has different uniforms and their vehicles are painted in different colours, but all can be a blessing if you find yourself in trouble, or a curse, if you are the one who is in trouble.
Why so many Police forces?
When Italy was a young Nation, a National Police force did not exist yet. But the State had to cope with a troubled Country, full of brigands and where everyone had to learn to respect a local code of “law” rather than the National law. So a special military corps, the Carabinieri was appointed to keep order and enforce the law in this awful mess. The Carabinieri are considered part of the armed services. They have served in various conflicts including Bosnia and Afghanistan.
The Carabinieri wear a black uniform with a red stripe on the side of the trousers and a white bandolier across the chest. Their vehicles are dark blue with a red “lightning” stripe on the sides.
When a National Police force was created, the Polizia di Stato, it did not replace the Carabinieri, but worked alongside them. Usually, the Polizia is present on motorways, major roads and around major towns, while the Carabinieri are more spread out in the territory.
The Polizia wears a blue uniform with grey trousers and their vehicles are light blue with white markings.
The Guardia di Finanza, which belongs to the Ministry of Finance, was initially supposed to deal with financial felonies such as tax evasion and bribery. But its enlarged scope includes investigating drug trafficking, smuggling of art and archaeology, illegal immigration and weapons traffic.
The Guardia di Finanza wears a grey uniform. Their vehicles are grey with green and yellow stripes.
The Polizia Municipale, is the local Police, and takes orders directly from the local town authority. You will meet the Polizia Municipale on urban roads but not on inter-city roads.
Their uniforms vary from town to town but are usually white, blue or black. Colours of vehicles vary accordingly.
You may stumble into other different Police forces: the Guardia Forestale, which patrols wild areas, the Polizia di Frontiera, which guards the boundaries, the Capitaneria di Porto if you wander on the sea and around ports, the Guardia Carceraria.
Most of their roles overlap and you will often see Carabinieri with Guardia di Finanza this combination is very intimidating if you get flagged down...... even if you know that you haven't done anything wrong.
There is still a deep respect for the Police here and they know that if they are stopped then they will have at least a 15 minute delay in their journey so its quite common to see Italians take detours as soon as they find out that cars are being stopped on a particular stretch of road.
One of the ongoing debates is which one of these Police forces are the scariest.....so far, from the people I have spoken to, the force that they least want anywhere near them is definitely the Guardia di Finanza........
On a wall in the Cave of Les Trois Ariège in France there is a stone-age drawing of a sorcerer wearing a mask. From his time to ours, from him to our own children modestly disguised for Halloween, or revelers made up for a carnival, there is an unbroken chain of masks. Made of every and anything from mud to gold, they have served to frighten, delight, beg, accompany the dead, cast out demons, and conceal lovers and executioners. From Greek drama to Balinese trance-dancers to modern psychodrama in which actors wear masks of their own faces, in every culture and in all of history, there have been masks.
The mask took on new meaning at the end of the 16th century in Italy, when there arose a form of theatre known as the Commedia dell'Arte. The actors were skilled in the representation of well-defined characters, characters who appeared and reappeared, bearing the same name, wearing the same mask and costume, speaking the same language and, thus, establishing themselves as distinct character types, stereotypes of various regions throughout Italy. For example, the stereotypical mask of Bologna is the pseudo-intellectual windbag, Dr. Balanzone, and Venice gives us the greedy and conniving underling, Arlecchino.
One of the best-known Italian masks is the one that represents Naples, Pulcinella. He is generally presented as a hunchback (male hunchbacks are considered lucky in Naples); he is dressed in a large, white smock and soft white hat, and wears a black half-mask characterized by a hook-nose. His character type is that of the jolly bungler, always poor and hungry, yet always able to get by, singing songs and playing the mandolin. In his stereotypical ineptness, however, there always remains the touch of the true court jester, the "fool," who delights in snubbing his nose at the powers that be, without them ever really catching on to how much wisdom is hidden behind the mask.
It is that anti–establishment part of Pulcinella's personality, the total disrespect of authority that seems to be not so hidden in much modern-day Neapolitan behavior. That's the reason—say some—that Neapolitans drive they way they do. The state put that traffic light on the corner, telling you when to go and when to stop. A free citizen is almost honour–bound to ignore it.
Origins & History:-
The character of Pulcinella may, indeed, go back to the Atellan Fables and their pre-Roman Oscan stock characters, one of whom was Macchus, a hunch-backed "wise" fool with a big nose, similar to the traditional Pulcinella. Some sources [Piero Toschi: Le Origini del Teatro Italiano. 1955.] claim that the name itself, Pulcinella, goes back to the 1300s and meant "clown." There is also a drawing by Ludovico Carracci from the late 1500s. The sketch is of a rough-hewn, almost bruised, face with dark features and a large nose. There is no traditional half-mask, but the figure is wearing the well-known floppy hat. The sketch is titled "Paoluccio della Cerra, commonly known as Pulcinella." Although that does not settle the question of the origin of the name, the figure in the sketch, if you add a mask, does fit Pulcinella as he has traditionally appeared on Neapolitan stages since the Commedia dell'Arte.
Pulcinella first appears as a scripted character in 1609 in La Lucilla costante con le ridicole disfide e prodezze di Policinella [Faithful Lucilla and Pulcinella's Ridiculous, Daring Feats]. The actor who played Pulcinella was Silvio Fiorillo, the first in a long string of well-known Pulcinellas in Naples. Others have included Vincenzo Cammarano (nicknamed "Giancola") the best-known Pulcinella of the 1700s and a member of the famous theatrical family in Naples that eventually included the librettist of Lucia di Lamermoor and il Trovatore, Salvatore Cammarano. Vincenzo's other claim to fame is that he is apparently the one who hung the term of endearing insult "Re Nasone" (King Big Nose) on King Ferdinand. The king liked it!
Vincenzo passed the Pulcinella mask to his son Filippo. After that, Antonio Petito (the best remembered of the 19th-century Pulcinellas) and then his son, Salvatore, both served to make the character a mainstay of the repertoire of the most important dialect theater in Naples, the San Carlino. The last great "historical" Pulcinella was Salvatore De Muto (1876-1970). He played the character for the last time in 1954 at the opening of the San Ferdinando Theater, coming out of retirement to do so, at the insistence of Eduardo De Filippo.
More recently, Eduardo De Filippo (1900-1984), himself, played Pulcinella on various occasions, including in the remarkable 1959 film, Ferdinando I, Re di Napoli, playing on the relationship between the real-life Pulcinella, Salvatore Cammarano (mentioned above) and the King (played in the film by Eduardo's brother, Peppino De Filippo). Other modern show business personalities from Naples have also appeared in film or on stage as Pulcinella. These include Massimo Ranieri and Massimo Troisi.
In the UK we probably remember this character as Mr Punch....
Dozens of Roman centurion impersonators protested in front of the Colosseum on Thursday dressed in plumed helmets and clutching plastic swords in a protest against a ban on their work.
A clash between the “centurions” and police broke out after officers forced down a group of the men who had climbed onto an upper stand of the famous Roman amphitheatre, as bemused tourists cheered on the impersonators.
A spokesman for the protesters, David Sonnino, said they would stay until they had been given “a written assurance” that they would receive permits and the unusual protest continued inside the tourist-hub monument itself.
The re-enactors usually crowd the area outside the 2,000-year-old Colosseum, posing with tourists for pictures for a fee but are working illegally.
They have been officially banned from April 4 under a frequently flouted law that prevents any commercial activity in front of historical monuments.
“Rome city hall has agreed to give a work permit to historical impersonators like centurions. But these are just promises. The last negotiation was yesterday. We still haven’t received anything concrete,”Sonnino said.
“We want rules, we want to pay taxes!” he added.
Several “centurions” were arrested in an undercover sting by police last year after tourists complained about being harassed by the men and they were also accused of using violence to keep away competition.
One alleged ruse was to offer to take a photo with the tourist’s camera and then refusing to return it until money had been handed over. A centurion was arrested in 2007 for attacking a couple of tourists.
Scientists sequencing the genome of the 5,000-year-old "Iceman" corpse found 20 years ago in the Tyrolean Alps, have discovered that he had brown eyes, was lactose-intolerant, prone to heart disease and had Lyme disease. The boffins also found that he may be related to some modern-day Northern Mediterraneans.
The results of their tests are published in the journal Nature Communications and unveil some of the characteristics of the ancient mountain roamer, the world's oldest glacier mummy.
Oetzi, who died of a flint arrow to the left shoulder and a blow to the head, also suffered from the tick-borne nervous system disorder Lyme disease, the scientists discovered after they found traces of an infection by the bacteria. It is the oldest documented case of Lyme disease in the world.
Despite a diet that was likely to be low in pork scratchings, the Iceman was also predisposed to coronary heart disease, the scientists found – confirming earlier findings that his arteries were found to be calcified. It's a discovery that shows it's not just modern lifestyles that are giving people heart attacks:
“The evidence that such a genetic predisposition already existed in Ötzi’s lifetime is of huge interest to us. It indicates that cardiovascular disease is by no means an illness chiefly associated with modern lifestyles. We are now eager to use these data to help us explore further how these diseases developed,” says anthropologist Albert Zink of Bolzano’s EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman.
Oetzi may also have had trouble digesting milk products, as certain genes suggest he was lactose-intolerant – though that may have been the least of his troubles.
Oetzi's murder is described as the world's oldest murder case, it's likely the Iceman was killed in a mountain-top skirmish between tribes as blood from other people was found on his clothes. He was found with a flint-bladed knife, a copper axe, some berries and mushrooms (believed to be for medicinal use) on a string.
The gene-crunching also revealed some nuggets about Oetzi's ethnicity. One gene in particular suggested that Oetzi's ancestors migrated from the Middle East. The gene is uncommon in Europe but found in some modern day inhabitants of the Northern Mediterranean, including Italians but particularly the geographically isolated populations of Sardinia and Corsica
Residents of the town of Falciano del Massico in Italy have reason to look after their health and safety now more than ever because if they should be so careless as to die, they will be breaking the law.
In a local edict issued by the mayor Giulio Cesare Fava on 2 March, it is "forbidden for residents ... to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life, to go into the afterlife".
The law has confused some locals who have asked: "The mayor said that we must not die, but how do we obey?"
However, the law is really a protest about the fact that Falciano del Massico has no cemetery. The town has been involved in a dispute with its neighbouring town, which does have a cemetery. The two towns failed to come to an agreement on expansion plans for the cemetery.
"It's a provocative ordinance, but I had to issue it in order to raise awareness amongst the authorities in charge. Since Falciano del Massico gained its autonomy in 1964, we haven't managed to build a cemetary," explained the town's mayor Giulio Cesare Fava.
Until a new cemetery can be built, residents of Falciano del Massico must keep on living.
"The ordinance has brought happiness," said Mayor Fava. "Unfortunately, two elderly citizens disobeyed."
Anybody thinking about replacing or buying a new pump for their swimming pool should take a look at this.
A monumental breakthrough in energy efficiency, extended service life and silent operation.
Traditional pool pumps are high energy consumers. Fortunately, there is IntelliFlo™ VS-3050, a breakthrough innovation that’s brimming with new technology to drastically reduce energy costs and provide many other benefits as well.
Two key technology innovations drive sensational energy savings:-
First, IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 uses an exclusive permanent magnet motor (used in hybrid cars) that is fundamentally more energy efficient and typically accounts for “base energy savings” of 30%. Next, the IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 is a unique variable speed pump with four selectable pre-set speeds in the control panel. This allows customized programming of optimum pump speeds for specific tasks – filtering, heating, cleaning, spa jets, waterfalls, etc. Using slower speeds = additional savings!
Other advantages add even more value:-
- The quietest pump on the planet: thanks to its permanent magnet motor and the fact that it is a totally enclosed fan cooled (TEFC) design, IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 is also the quietest pump ever built.
- Longer life further increases return on your investment: IntelliFlo™ VS-3050’s permanent magnet motor produces far less heat and vibration than traditional induction motors. This not only results in less stress and wear on pump components, but also on other equipment. Furthermore, built-in diagnostics protect IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 from the most common causes of premature pump failure – overheating, freezing, and voltage irregularities.
- As your poolscape changes, so will IntelliFlo™ VS-3050: with IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 you can add equipment and features, without changing the pump. Just push a button to set the new, optimum speed to operate at the lowest energy use.
- Unique ability to manage water features: finally, consider IntelliFlo™ VS-3050’s unique ability to alter the performance of your water features. Just increase or decrease pump speed with the touch of a button to adjust on demand.
- Adjusts to various pool sizes: one pump covers a range from 1/2 HP to 3 HP.
- Prevents thermal overload + detects and prevents damage from under and over voltage conditions.
- Protects against freezing.
- Easy to use operator control panel with buttons for speed control.
- Built-in strainer pot and volute.
- Ultra energy-efficient TEFC Square Flange Motor.
- Compatibility with most cleaning systems, filters, and jet action spas.
- Driver assembly features permanent magnet synchronous motor.
- Heavy-duty, durable construction designed for long life.
- Ability to operate with automation systems using IntelliComm™.
Programming IntelliFlo™ VS-3050 is as easy as setting the stations on your car radio
- Four function buttons to set speeds for filtration cycles, spas, water features, and more.
- Speed adjustments buttons – you or your pool professional dial in the most efficient speed for each application.
- Alarm status light – a sequence of blinks alerts you of conditions that may need attention.
Whats more its available from a distributor in Italy
We’ve all heard that laughter is good medicine and those of us that laugh loudly and deeply know that’s true. If you’re skeptical, an international research team, led by The University of Oxford, has just released the results of a 10 year study which concludes that laughing properly out loud can help increase your pain threshold by as much as 10%. A polite giggle or titter doesn’t get it.
A good old belly laugh causes exhaustion and triggers protective endorphins to counter act that feeling. According to an article published about the study on The University of Oxford’s website “These endorphins, one of the complex neuropeptide chemicals produced in the brain, manage pain and promote feelings of well being.”
The study consisted of different types of experiments involving groups of participants. For instance, after watching a comedy sketch, participants’ pain tolerance was higher when compared to levels after watching an informational program about golf.
Another factor that increased the sense of well-being was the group effect. Laughing with others is more beneficial than laughing alone. But laughing alone is more beneficial than watching a program about golf. In my humble opinion which is not based on any scientific evidence, watching just about anything other than golf will give you a better sense of well-being. (No offence to golfers) .
As summer approaches its important to understand the "risks" when maintaining swimming pools, it isn't just about keeping the PH levels right etc but providing adequate facilities to help keep your pool safe.
Swimming is appreciated the world over as a healthy, fun-filled activity.
Swimmer hygiene education is badly needed to reduce pool contaminants. Most swimmers don’t realize they have an effect on the quality of pool water.
When maintaining your pool it is important to provide swimmers with recreational water that is safe from pathogens. For example, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the cause of painful swimmer’s ear infections, is obliterated in appropriately disinfected pool water. By carefully maintaining pool disinfectant levels, most waterborne germs don’t stand a chance of infecting swimmers.
But disinfection is not without side effects:-
An unintended consequence of chemical disinfection is the production of low levels of disinfection byproducts, also known as DBPs. These are contaminants that may potentially cause health effects in swimmers and are a subject of increasing research.
A common example of a DBP found in swimming pools is trichloramine. It is the product of a chemical reaction between chlorine disinfectant and ammonia-containing substances introduced into pools by swimmers such as body oils, lotions, saliva, perspiration, urine and faeces. Trichloramine is an eye and skin irritant with a pungent odor; it is the substance usually responsible for the red eyes and itchy skin that swimmers often mistakenly attribute to chlorine. In fact, the harsh chemical odor of trichloramine is a sign of a poorly managed pool.
Researchers and public health officials predict that swimmers will play a more active role in reducing levels of trichloramine and other DBPs in pools when they understand their actions can make a difference. In the case of DBP production, it helps to remember “it takes two to dance the ‘DBP tango’”:
Disinfectant + Bodily Substances = DBP Contaminants.
You can't dispense with disinfectant without putting swimmers at risk so if you make swimmers shower away the substances that react with disinfectant, doing so will reduce the risk of DBP. Ensure Families take frequent bathroom breaks to avoid unfortunate “accidents.” Make sure showers and toilets are accessible and in good working order.
It’s time to raise awareness that swimmers are dancing partners in the “DBP tango.”
So, to lower the amount of DBP's in your pool:-
- make sure bathers take a shower before they enter the pool
- make sure there is a foot bath
- provide toilet facilities close by
DBP is not only waterborne but airborne as well so people sitting around the pool can become affected as well.
Cyanuric acid - What is it exactly? It is actually a pool chemical that forms a temporary bond with your pool chlorine. It works to protect your pool's free chlorine from being destroyed by the natural UV rays of the sun. This particular pool chemical is a necessary ingredient to your water chemistry if you are using unstabilized chlorine in your pools.
Without it your free chlorine residual will be lost in less than two hours- this is because chlorine is very susceptible to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. As result of this process, your chlorine residual can drop well below the recommended level. This creates a very dangerous environment for pool bathers because diseases can be transmitted very easily between them. When cyanuric acid is present in your swimming pool water in sufficient amount - the free chlorine residuals will remain in the water much longer. This could be up to three to ten times longer than if CyA was not present.
If you use the CyA conditioner or stabilizer in your swimming pools, it has to be maintained between 30 to 50 ppm. This is the recommended level that will cause your chlorine residual to have optimum effect in your pool water. Thus giving your pool chlorine optimum protection from the sun's ultraviolet light.
When should you use cyanuric acid?
Basically cyanuric acid is added to your pool water as needed. This is normally when it is very difficult for you to get or maintain a free chlorine residual of 2 ppm in your swimming pool. You should perform a cyanuric (CyA test) acid test at once a month; however, if you are using stabilized chlorine to treat your pool water, then you will need to do a cyanuric acid test every week.
When should you add cyanuric to your swimming pool?
When you are adding CyA to your pool, it will require regular testing of this chemical as I mentioned earlier. The reason for this is that we do not want the level of this pool chemical to reach its maximum in your pool water. Because if it does, it will render your pool chlorine ineffective. Now there are a couple of ways that you can add this chlorine stabilizer to your pool water!
Lowering cyanuric acid in swimming pools.
It is a known fact that if you are using cyanuric acid (CyA) in your swimming pools, you do not get rid of it. This is another reason why you should constantly test its level and maintain it between 30 and 50 ppm. You see, as you add this chlorine stabilizer to the water of your swimming pool, it increases over time. And the recommended maximum ppm level of this pool chlorine stabilizer is 100.
Once it gets too high, you will have to get rid of or lower it immediately. The question is how? There is no known pool chemical that will lower or eliminate it. The only way to get rid of the cyanuric acid in a swimming pool is to drain your pool partially or completely.
In most cases it is best to drain the pool complete and start your pool water chemistry over. When you refill your pool, you will have to begin adding CyA once again. This is only necessary if you are indeed using unstabilized chlorine as your main source of chlorine disinfectant.
Again high levels of CyA is not good because it can also lead to an increase risk of algae growth. It also reduces the effectiveness of your pool chlorine at very high levels. This is because at very high levels, the amount of time required to kill bacteria in the water is increased. This is not a very healthy pool environment for your pool bathers.
Besides health related problems, other swimming pool problems such as increased cloudiness and high combined chlorine levels can occur as well.
For more information on the mysteries of pool care click here
At the start of 2011, the Pope declared war on parents naming babies after celebrities, fruit or popular sports cars. In an address to parents, the ever-progressive pontiff pleaded with worshipers that when thinking of baby names, they should 'give your children names that are in the Christian calendar'.
So Apple, Brooklyn and Ferrari are out, Francisco and Giulia are in.But the Pope is not the only authority figure to stamp down on one of the sillier by-products of celebrity culture. Various baby names have all been banned around the world for reasons of taste, decency or just plain daftness.
Maybe this is what the Pope was talking about. Back in 2008 a court banned an Italian couple from calling their child Venerdi (translation: Friday). The judges reckoned the name - taken from 'Robinson Crusoe' - would expose the boy to 'mockery' and was associated with 'subservience and insecurity'. The parents, however, might have the last laugh; they threatened to call their next child Mercoledi (Wednesday).
Has Italy banned any other names? Italian courts can step in 'when the child's name is likely to limit social interaction and create insecurity'. In Turin, Andrea was rejected (and changed to Emma) as it's a boy's name in Italy. Dalmata has also been rejected, as it means Dalmatian.
Humans tend to maintain a constant body temperature. Many activities carried out by the human body, including digestion, tend to produce a certain quantity of heat which has to be eliminated.
The mechanisms through which a living body dissipates heat answers to the laws of thermodynamics. Heat can be ceded through 4 main mechanisms: by contact with objects (conduction) or the surrounding air (convection), through the emission of electromagnetic waves (radiation) or through water produced by sweating (evaporation).
Environmental temperature and humidity can make these mechanisms quite ineffective. In fact, as external temperature is higher than body temperature, conduction, convection and radiation become totally ineffective, and the only way to lose heat is sweating evaporation. However, under conditions of high humidity also the latter mechanism may turn ineffective.
If thermo-dispersion mechanisms become ineffective, body temperature increases causing problems of hyperthermia such as painful cramps, simple hyperthermia and heat strokes.
Heat cramps usually occur after intense muscular exercise; they are uncontrolled contractions of fatigued muscles. They result from an imbalance between liquids and body salts due to an impoverishment of energy sources (muscular glycogen).
Simple hyperthermia mirrors a poor cardiovascular adaptation following the increase of external environmental temperature.It manifests itself through migraine, giddiness, weakness, low blood pressure and a small and frequent heart beat.
Heat strokes are more serious and can be deadly. They are caused by an overload of the thermoregulatory mechanisms which turn out to be insufficient. Perspiration reduces, skin is hot and dry, and deep body temperature can reach 41.5° C.
Dehydration and increased body temperature can damage the nervous system, patients are confused and can loose consciousness. In these cases, it is necessary to cool the patient down rapidly by applying ice packs, water immersions and alcohol frictions whose evaporation facilitates heat loss.
Avoid doing physical exercise in the hottest hours and in a high-humidity environment. Drink plenty of liquids for reintegration of mineral salts before, during and after practicing sports. Diet can also help: eat small, light meals in order not to overload your digestive system; fruits and raw vegetables are part of a healthy diet since they contain water, vitamins and mineral salts.
Grateful thanks to Polizia di stato for this article
This is probably a subject everyone dreads to think about however, the stark reality is that the Italian Government's tax rules state that any resident (for tax purposes) is liable to pay tax on their worldwide revenue. This is probably a complicated subject and should be dealt with by an accountant. The following is an excerpt from the rules:-
Italy has bilateral agreements with many foreign countries, within and outside EU, to avoid being taxed twice on income and property.
These agreements establish a range of powers to set taxes between the two States, thus regulating the tax processing of each category of income.
Depending on the categories involved, these agreements plan the possibility for both States to tax the same income (concurrent taxation) or, sometimes, the exclusive taxation by one State only.
The rule established for the main categories of income (dividends, interest, royalties) states that, barring some exceptions, the beneficiary pays tax in the country of residence, but also allows the State where the subject making the payment (source country) is resident to levy taxes thereon, but within well-defined limits. These limits have fixed rates which, in most cases, are lower than those in force on a national level.
The rules established by the agreement provide, upon request by the tax payer, the right to be refunded by the source country of any paid tax, in case it exceeds the amount established by the agreement, or, sometimes, the right to have the expected benefit immediately applied, already when the tax is deducted.
The competent authorities of the two countries can agree on specific ways of refund or of direct application of the agreement, consisting in the adoption of specific forms.
The forms so far agreed concern the application of conventional reductions for the most important categories of income: dividends, interest and royalties. The forms, formulated in two or more copies, along with a copy for the beneficiary, include the statements issued by the beneficiary according to the requirements of the agreement. They also have a part concerning the attestation of residence, to be filled in by the tax authorities of the country of residence.
On the basis of the existing law, there is no specific obligation to use the agreed forms in place of an informal application for refund. The forms, deriving from a specific understanding between the two contracting States, aim at avoiding problems of an operative nature and thus facilitate those entitled. Furthermore there are forms drawn up unilaterally by the foreign tax authorities which can equally be used to facilitate operations.
If you understood any of that then I take my hat off to you.
The crux of the matter is if you live here permanently you are liable to pay tax even if you have paid tax in the UK, Pensions included if they are above 7,500 euros per year.
We are hoping to get more input from an accountant which will clarify this further.
If you already complete your IRPEF there are lots of things you can claim 19% reduction on the amount paid...including Vet fees & medical expenses so its well worth getting professional advice.
We can say with a good deal of certainty that playing cards were not known in Europe before middle of 14th century. That certainty comes from the fact that famous writers of Pre-Renaissance era never mentioned them in their writings. Franchesco Petrach (1304 -74) and Boccacio (1313 - 75) wrote about dice and other forms of gambling but nothing was said about cards. Also, the Church ordinance dated 1363 and 1369 edict by Charles V of France prohibiting playing dice games and other games of chance did not speak of cards in any way.
First historical documents, which give a positive proof that cards spread into Europe, place that event after 1370. Most of those documents are related to prohibitions and restrictions on gambling and cards by European cities.
The Law of the City of Florence dated 1376 forbade by the vote of 98 elders to 25 playing the game “naibb”, "which recently been introduced into these parts”. The modern version of the word “naibb” is Spanish “naipes”, which means “playing cards”. Similar ordinance in German city of Regensburg dated 1378 declared card games punishable by law if played for high stakes. The Chronicle of the City of Viterbo dated 1379 talks about the game of cards called” naybb”. Town ordinances of Paris (1377) and St. Gallen (1379) also outlawed card playing but only for working classes leaving it available for a high society.
By the early 15th century cards spread through most of Europe. Their popularity grew so big it provoked a reaction from Church. Monk Bernardine of Sienna preached against the evil of gambling at Bologna in 1423 so passionately, a big part of the population of the city burnt their cards in public fires. That was repeated by John Capistran in Nurenberg in 1452 and tens of thousand of dice, cards and backgammon boards were thrown into the fire.
Introduction of playing cards into Europe
There are a few theories on how playing cards reached Europe.
Marco Polo Theory
According to that theory cards were brought to Europe from China thanks to Marco Polo's voyages in 13th century. The fact that the earliest historical references to playing cards date at the end of 14th century makes that theory unlikely. Besides chronological problems with that theory, the difference between Chinese cards and games of that era and European packs and games is too obvious for Chinese cards to be a direct ancestor to European cards. Also, playing cards are not mentioned in Marco Polo’s published reports of his travels “Il Milone”.
The Crusaders Theory
That theory has the same chronological problems as the previous one. It claims that Asian cards followed ancient trading “silk” routes from China through Persia and Egypt all the way to Holy Land. The Crusaders returning home after a defeat by Saladin, supposedly, brought cards with them to European cities. The last Crusade, however, was over by 1291 – almost 80 years before European cards were first mentioned by historical evidence.
The Gypsies Theory
This theory falsely stated that the playing cards were introduced into Europe by traveling gypsies. The facts are that the gypsies infiltrated Europe almost 100 years after first cards appeared in European cities so again this theory is unlikely.
The Mameluks of Egypt Theory
According to this theory the cards came from the Mameluks of Egypt. This theory is generally accepted now due to undisputed historical evidence found by L.A. Mayer. In 1939 he discovered, in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul, the complete pack of cards which could be traced to 12th or 13th centuries. Early Italian packs of 14th century look almost identical to Mameluks pack. It consists of 52 cards of 4 suits. The suits are swords, polo-sticks, cups and coins. The cards include numerals from 1 to 10 and three courts – King, Deputy-King and Under-Deputy.
One question still remains open though – did the cards enter Europe through Italy or Spain? The odds are that it happened through Italy because cards, like any other goods, followed major trade routes and Venice was the main trade gate into Europe. Another argument for Italy is that early Italian pack resembles Mameluks pack a lot closer than a Spanish pack. There is still a possibility that the cards were brought to Europe first by Spanish Moors though. Uncut sheet of cards dated 15th century discovered in Barcelona shows close similarity to Mameluks pack as well.
A History of European Packs
By the end of the 14th century playing cards spread widely across Europe and found home in Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Scandinavian countries. European playing cards most likely reached Italy first - the probable evolution of the European pack was:- Italian pack first, then the Spanish pack followed by the German and French packs.
All European packs of the 14th century were 4-suited. They had differences in the type of suits and the number and types of court cards.
The French Pack introduced major changes that simplified the pack and its production. Four suits were divided in two black suited and two red ones. Previously, suits came in 4 colours – black, red, blue and green. The suits markings (“pips”) were made smaller and their shape was simplified. As a result the production of the cards became cheaper and faster and by 15th century France turned into Europe’s leading manufacturer of playing cards. French cards were exported to England, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and other countries.
French suits, which eventually were accepted by other card-playing nations, represented 4 classes of medieval French society. Hearts symbolized the Church, the pikes (spades) represented the military, a paving tile (diamond) was the symbol of the merchant class and a clover leaf (clubs) stood for farmers.
The first playing cards were imported into England in early 15th century. The packs had Italian-Spanish and French design.
English card makers started manufacturing cards around 1450. They copied French design and introduced the custom of making cards recognizable from both ends.
Later on English started the custom of decorating the ace of spades.That custom originates from a tax levied by British government on every deck. The ace of spades was taken from the deck to the tax office to get a tax stamp. Eventually the stamp was placed on the package, but the additional decoration (resembling the stamp) survived on the ace of spades.
The Ace of Spades carried the duty of one shilling at the top and has the text "By His Majesty's Royal Letters Patent" printed at the bottom which had been granted to Thomas de la Rue by King William IV for 'certain improvements in making or manufacturing and ornamenting playing cards.' The Aces of Spades were printed in the Stamp Office at Somerset House and an account of the numbers of Aces was kept there by the authorities.
Its that face again.....and I am sure more articles on this site will feature the new Prime Minister of Italy as we all get to grips of how the austerity measures being introduced will effect us.
A new Italian real estate tax was recently introduced on property located outside of Italy, owned by individuals who are resident in Italy for Italian tax purposes, regardless of the use of the property.(Law Decree 6 December 2011 no. 201 - the so-called "Decreto Salva Italia").
This tax does not apply if the property owner is a corporate entity or an entity treated as akin to a corporate entity for tax purposes (e.g. a company, foundation; trust, etc.).
The annual tax is 0.76% of the value of the property. For these purposes, the 'value' is deemed to be equal to the purchase price as shown on the purchase agreement (as is customary e.g. in the UK). If a purchase agreement does not exist, the 'value' is deemed to be equal to the fair market value determined by appropriate criteria applicable in the country where the real estate is located.
When a purchase price is not provided, it is unclear what it is intended by 'value' i.e. if it is the cadastral (i.e. rateable or assessed) value (where one exists in the foreign country) or if instead it is necessary to carry out a valuation on the property in order to assess its current value.
The law also allows the Italian taxpayer to claim a foreign tax credit against the Italian real estate tax in the event he/she has already paid tax under the tax legislation of the country in which the property is located.
It is still unclear which documents must be filed with the Italian Tax Authority in order to obtain the abovementioned tax credit.
This tax applies from 2011 and therefore must be paid in 2012 by the deadline for payment of the Individual income tax return (IRPEF) (i.e. 20th of June, if not extended).
For the time being, no circulars or opinions have been issued by the Italian Tax Authority. It is likely (and desirable) that in the coming weeks the Italian Tax Authority will issue a circular clarifying the practical details of the application of this new tax.
To avoid any doubt this is the definition of resident for tax purposes:-
From a tax point of view a person is considered resident in Italy if for the majority of the year (that is for a period of 183 days or more even if they are not consecutive) or they:
- Are registered as resident at the Municipal Registry (Comune)
- Have their domicile in Italy (this has a different meaning from the English term and means that they have established in Italy the main centre of their own business and interests)
- Have their residence in Italy (habitual residence)
It’s black and white and it’s everywhere—on dining tables, kitchen benches, in fancy restaurants, household pantries, and in little sachets at fast food places and service stations. What is it? It’s the humble ‘salt and pepper’ of course. This dynamic duo has been gracing our world for centuries; without it the mind cannot fathom what the world would have been like. This is the story of salt and pepper.
Salt: The Indispensable Seasoning
Salt is one of the basic tastes along with sour, bitter and sweet. Not only does it please the tongue it's essential to the human body:- salt maintains the balance of fluids and keeps the body appropriately hydrated. Yet there is ample salt in the Western diet. Healthy adults need only 6 to 8 grams of salt per day but given that salt makes food taste ‘moreish’, is relatively cheap, preserves and doesn’t deteriorate it is overused in pre-packaged and fast foods. It’s no wonder that over the recent years salt has received, and continues to receive a lot of criticism—although it’s not salt’s fault per se it’s our abuse of it.
The History of Salt
Salt was the first seasoning to grace humanity:- its history has been traced as far back as the 20th century BC in China though the origin of salt in the ocean remains a mystery.
Salt is mainly sourced from underground deposits or is harvested in various ways from the ocean. Since many communities did not have access to underground salt deposits or the sea, rulers in the 1st century AD saw the advantage of applying salt taxes to vastly increase their earnings. In fact, such was the value of salt that it is the source for the etymology of ‘salary’: Roman troops were originally remunerated with salt rations, which, eventually, became a cash payment.
In the times of the TV reality show Masterchef and a multitude of celebrity chefs, food is considered fashionable—and salt is no exception. There’s black salt (halite), which is the true rock salt mined from underground salt deposits, and then there are other, more fashionable and well-known, salts—such as the flaky pink-tinged Murray River salt (from Australia) and the Maldon sea salt (from England). Use of such salts can raise the calibre of restaurants and, in households, earn home-cooks the title of ‘foodie.’
Pepper: The King of Spices
Black pepper is the fruit (berries) of the plant Piper nigrum—a vine that can climb over 10 metres in height. Pepper’s ‘heat’ comes from the molecule piperine—a structurally more complex molecule than salt. There are over 1000 species of pepper, but the P.nigrum is the one that is used the most.
When the vine first bears peppercorns, they are a deep-green colour. As they ripen, the berries change from green to yellow and then, finally, a bright reddish-pink when fully ripe. It is the green peppercorns that are dried into black peppercorns. White pepper, on the other hand, is actually the ‘heart’ of the black peppercorn—i.e. the outer dried black husk has been removed.
The History of Pepper
Native to Kerala—previously known as the Malabar region—in South India, pepper has had, perhaps, a much more glamorous history than its counterpart, salt. This pungent spice played a major role in the history of spice trading—in fact, it may have even started it.
Pepper’s history can be traced back to 1000 BC, where it was referred to in early Sanskrit writings. Around the changeover from BC to AD, the value of pepper rose markedly in the race to get it to Europe; this ‘race’ led to great voyage discoveries of ‘new’ continents—such as Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the Malabar coast in 1498—which paved the way for spice trade routes.
Pepper was considered ‘black gold’—not only was it a highly prized trading commodity, it was used as a currency, too. And, by the Middle Ages, pepper was considered so valuable that landlords in Europe demanded their tenants pay rent in peppercorns; thus, giving rise to the term ‘peppercorn rent’.
Pepper enjoyed its glory all over the world, as its control and supply changed a few ‘hands’ over the centuries—from the Orient to many of the European countries. By the time England was the dominant player in the 18th century, however, the value of pepper was much lower and it became less profitable. Nevertheless, pepper is still heavily traded and accounts for a quarter of the spices traded today.
Pepper is not only the oldest, but also the most widely used spice. It's the third most common ingredient used after water and, of course, salt. It’s hardly surprising, since this pungent spice has the power to stimulate the senses with its aroma and liven the palate with its anticipated ‘heat’. Pepper is a universal spice, as it works well with most, if not all, cuisines. And, like salt, pepper is a culinary genius: allowing both the cook and the diner to turn something uninspiring into something flavoursome.
Salt and Pepper: How They Met
It is apt that salt met pepper in France: a country of both romance and sophisticated cuisine. In Europe, until the 17th century, sugared foods were served together with salted dishes—it was the French that created the salt-sweet divide and, in doing so, lay the foundation for the salt and pepper partnership.
King Louis XIV deserves a special mention for his role in this culinary marriage—it was he who paired salt with pepper: The king had proclaimed that pepper was superior to any other spice and therefore it became the only spice acceptable for use in his royal court. As a result, salt and pepper became bonded — forever.
So, don’t take salt and pepper for granted, the difference in the textures, tastes, aromas, heats and flavours is one of the most pronounced between mass produced and artisan ingredients.
It looks like the discounts for Puglia Life members is working and the businesses want to be able to monitor the success and I guess how much they are giving away so they have asked that we provide a coupon with every transaction when discount is being claimed.....in the forum now you will see a pre-prepared coupon that just needs printing out and your member name put in.
Here is the link to the discount forum
We hope to get more and more shops involved in this project for the benefit of our members.
AIRLINES are making £265,000 a day through rip-off debit and credit card charges — before they are made illegal.
Carriers such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus are squeezing the cash out of their punters ahead of a ban at the end of the year.Airlines have made an estimated £65MILLION through the charges since the Government announced plans to outlaw the practice last June.
Ryanair, Flybe, bmibaby and Jet2 have even put UP their surcharges, the findings by Which? magazine revealed.
Experts say it costs a firm between 8p and 20p to process a card transaction. But a return flight for a family of four on Aer Lingus could add £48 to the bill.
Wizz Air charges up to £56 and Lufthansa and British Airways charge £4.50 per passenger — but sometimes only on cheaper flights.
Martyn Saville, of Which?, said: "We want companies to reduce or scrap their surcharges now."
article courtesy of Daniel Jones
On February 6th 2012 Volunia launched its world-wide service, beginning to grant system access to selected users (Power Users).
Massimo Marchiori is extremely pleased about the significant interest around Volunia (www.volunia.com) and, given the imminent launch, hereby reveals for the first time some of its main features. Power Users will find an entirely new application on the Web, whose innovation will not consist just in the search engine – Marchiori says – which will be exclusively concentrated on the search for the most important sites world-wide, rather in the whole user experience with the Volunia system.
Volunia was officially presented to the press on 6th February 2012 at 12 noon (EET) at the University of Padua (Archivio Antico - Palazzo del Bo - Via VIII febbraio N°2, Padova), Italy.
Massimo Marchiori created the algorithm that Larry Page used to build Google. Spurning the siren song of America, he returned to Italy from MIT in Boston, where he was working, to seek out new opportunities in the land of his birth. The precise opposite of the path usually taken by young Italians. Following a spell as a researcher at the University of Venice, Marchiori was appointed professor at Padua, and at the alma mater where Galileo founded modern science, he hosted a webcast today to present his new creature, Volunia. VOLUNIA – “I called it Volunia, from the Italian words for flying and moon, because I wanted to evoke the quantum leap my social search engine delivers”, Marchiori enthuses. The site has been operational since Monday afternoon and you can now register to browse. Marchiori assures us that the engine will be opened to all users next week, after a few days of necessary tweaking. In practical terms, the search engine offers two main features. When you enter any website, a toolbar gives you a range of options. The first is to create a personal map of the site with all its sections, “overflying the content” as Marchiori puts it. There’s also a “media” button that gives you an instant display of multimedia content to speed up your search. Another major innovation is the social box.
My name is Kathy and I am a fully qualified Beauty Therapist specialising in skin care. We live between Ostuni and Caravigno and back in the UK I ran a successful business from home and would very much like to do the same here. I intend offering treatments such as facials, waxing, pedicures, manicures and eye brow/lash tinting. My services will be mobile where I come to you or from my therapy room which will be warm in winter and air conditioned in summer making it a haven for you to relax and recharge.
Sun can be very damaging to our skin but we all like to have a healthy glow so correct and regular skin care is an essential treatment especially living in a warm and dry environment such as Puglia.
Before I commit to purchasing a lot of stock I would like to gauge the level of interest so please let me know if my services would be of interest to you. Sorry gentlemen but this is for ladies only.
If you would like further details, register your interest, request a price list or just want a general chat on skin care please message and I will provide you with my contact details.
It is a sad fact that wherever you move to around the globe, you cannot hide from the Inland Revenue.
As a UK expatriate you may have left home for a fixed short term contract, or for an indefinite but longer period of time, or you may have flown the nest intending never to return. But whatever your resolve, the UK's Inland Revenue has reserved a special category just for you. And it is only sensible to get to grips with establishing your defined tax status and complying with it. After all, better a label than a bill.
Essentially, an expatriate's tax status will fall into one of five categories:-
1) Resident: Based upon the amount of time spent in the UK on an annual basis. If an individual spends 183 or more days in the UK in any one tax year he or she will be classified as resident and will pay UK tax as a normal resident.
2) Ordinarily Resident: This is a longer-term concept where the Inland Revenue will take a view over three to four years on where an expatriate habitually resides. If an expatriate is habitually resident in the UK for 90 or more days in any one tax year then the category is ordinarily resident and such status impacts upon tax liabilities accordingly.
3) Not ordinarily resident: This category applies to an expatriate who works overseas and whose intention is to work and reside overseas and who will not be spending 90 or more days back in the UK. If the intention to remain overseas can be proved before leaving then the expatriate earns this status from the day of leaving the UK along with the accompanying tax breaks.
4) Not resident: A definite and sought after status applied to an expatriate who conforms to the rules of working and living overseas and not returning to the UK for any period of time which could throw doubt on that intention, Not resident means not liable to pay tax on income or capital gains, provided these are as offshore as the expatriate.
5) Domicile: Any UK citizen, wherever based, remains UK domiciled unless permanently emigrating through official channels. Essentially, your domicile is linked to the country where your roots are and this status clings to you for life, catching up on your death when inheritance tax is due.
Although it may appear that there is little difference between some of the categories, do not be fooled. For instance one of the main differences between ordinarily resident and not ordinarily resident is that under the former category an expatriate is still within the capital gains framework, but under the latter category there is no liability for capital gains Tax.
The Inland Revenue and Your Tax Status
Expatriates must clarify their tax status with the Inland Revenue. On departure, or as soon as can be arranged if already overseas, a form P85 must be completed, this covers all the technicalities of date of departure, intention of remaining overseas and assets (such as property) left behind in the UK.
The answers provided will be what determines your new tax status. If you are uncertain as to the length of time you will be overseas, it is advisable to submit the form with an accompanying letter, or copy of your contract from your employer which confirms or indicates the employment period will be for a time long enough (and always for at least one full tax year) to warrant being classified as either not ordinarily resident or not resident.
There are several incentives for such tedious form filling:-
First, having confirmation from the Inland Revenue of your new tax status tidies up your file and records for this period of time in a way which will not catch up with you later.
Secondly, such confirmation can be useful when dealing with the tax authorities in your new country of residence.
And finally, the really good news, very often new expatriates are eligible for a tax rebate on tax already paid in the tax year of departure.
Once the P85 is filled in and posted off be sure to make a diary note to check that the Revenue has actually written back with a confirmed reply of status. All too often the are just filed by the Revenue and the expatriate is left bereft of the vital confirmation of status.
Here is a link for the P85 form
Information courtesy of Riverside Financial Advisors
Ah, just the thought of Cioccolata Calda makes my mouth water......Chi-o-co-la-ta Cal-da is Italian for Hot Chocolate (if you already didnt know). I’m going to attempt to describe this to those of you who have not experienced an authentic Italian Hot Chocolate. Which, btw is the BEST hot chocolate in the entire world. Don’t even try to change my mind
This IS NOT Swiss Made hot chocolate - Not by a long shot. Italian Cioccolata Calda Is a cup of thick, delicious, creamy, pudding like consistency, hot chocolaty goodness! Just wait, you’ll see…It’s so thick it will stick to the sides of your cup and we love it.......
As a special treat we go into San Vito and have one of these.....almost addictive drinks but for anyone wanting to make it at home here is the recipe....
What you’ll need:
100g Good Quality Chocolate 70% or higher
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Corn Starch
What to do:
1. Into a saucepan over LOW heat add chocolate and a smidge of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted.
2. SLOWLY add in the milk until it’s well combined. Add sugar. Mix well. Whisk in corn starch. Continue cooking over LOW heat until it becomes thick and creamy and coats the back of the wooden spoon.
Pour into a cup or mug....sit back and enjoy
When I was about 6 months old I had my first real taste of spaghetti, my Grandad hand fed me from his bowl.....from that day on I think I was addicted to spaghetti........
But there is a knack to eating spaghetti without getting in a mess or spending an age twiddling your fork around and around only to find once you offer it up to your mouth the majority of it falls back on your plate - or worse still all down your front.
There are also formal ways of eating spaghetti and informal - you would never use a knife or spoon when eating formally - just not the done thing......the secret is really simple.....make a space on your plate.....scoop some spaghetti onto your fork (not too much or your will have problems) turn the fork down with the spaghetti trapped between your fork and the plate.....then twirl...once all the spaghetti is entwined on your fork a swift scoop upward with your fork should keep all the spaghetti in place......another little twirl or two should bring the straggling bits onto your fork - then nice and slowly into your mouth.....job done.
The other option is to use a piece of bread ....the method is the same except you use the bread instead of the plate to trap the spaghetti - probably best tried at home first.
I have seen people cut up spaghetti and it makes me cringe to watch them struggle even more to get the spaghetti intact to their mouths without it falling back onto the plate or onto their laps.
Finally, Scarpetta, which means "little shoe," refers to the act of wiping the last bits of sauce on a dinner plate with a piece of fresh bread. It is not proper to do “scarpetta” at a formal dinner but hey....why waste a delicous sauce.
When describing the origins of pasta, a distinction should be made between fresh and dry pasta. Fresh pasta is dough made of flour and water and exists in most cultures and on all continents. Dry pasta began in Italy and embarked from there to conquer the world.
Many schoolchildren were taught that the Venetian merchant Marco Polo brought back pasta from his journeys to China. Another version states that Polo's discovery was actually a rediscovery of a foodstuff that was once popular in Italy in Etruscan and Roman times.
Well Marco Polo might have done amazing things on his journey but bringing pasta to Italy was not one of them it was already there in Polo's time.
There is some evidence of an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from the same durum wheat as modern pasta called "lagane" (origin of the modern word for lasagna). However this food, first mentioned in the 1st century AD, was not boiled like pasta it was cooked in an oven. Therefore ancient lagane had some similarities but cannot be considered pasta. The next culinary leap in the history of pasta would take place a few centuries later.
Dried pasta was familiar in the Mediterranean area in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and was also mentioned in Genovese documents. The first traces of dry pasta in Europe came from Sicily where documents from the twelfth century tell of something like a factory for dry pasta localized in the Palermo area. From this site, the pasta (called itrjia) was then exported to other regions of southern Italy.
Genovese sailors were among the most active traders within the Mediterranean. It is not surprising that in the thirteenth century, Genoa became a trader and then fabricator of dry pasta spreading it to many other countries — leading to this pasta being called Genovese.
The oldest macaroni recipes found are from Sicily. They include macaroni with eggplant (eggplant was introduced by the Arabs to Sicily around the year 1000 from India) and macaroni with sardines. Both of these delicious dishes are still present in Sicilian cooking.
Other establishments appeared through southern Italy, and the pasta called spaghetti today (meaning “strings”) or vermicelli (meaning “little worms”), for its threadlike shape, was called tria. Tube-shaped short pasta would be named macaroni, supposedly from the Latin word maccare meaning “to mash.”
The turning point came in Naples in the 1600s. Imports of meat and fresh produce became difficult and expensive due to an economic crisis. Flour was available and pasta had become more affordable especially after the invention of the mechanical press. Dry pasta quickly became the people’s food. Neapolitans even came to be called mangiamaccheroni (macaroni eaters).
Durum wheat semolina was produced in large quantities in southern Italy.
Macaroni is a filling food for poor people and pasta with cheese contains good nourishment. As a result, the poor of southern Italy did not suffer pellagra and famine as much as the northerners whose only staple was maize.
In 1785, Naples had around 280 pasta shops.
In the 1800s, pasta was sold by street vendors who cooked it over a charcoal fire and eaten on the spot with bare hands. Pasta was sold with no dressing or merely with a bit of grated sheep cheese until the early 1800s when the first tomato sauces appeared.
Southern Italy had hundreds of artisan pasta makers but it was in 1824 in northern Italy, close to Genova, that the first industrial pasta factory was established by the Agnese family. A few years later the Buitoni family founded another pasta factory.
After the Italian unification in 1862, pasta spread all over the country. Before long pasta was eaten all around the world and the rest as they say “is history”!
Maybe not something we all think about on a day to day basis but protecting your computer from harmful viruses, trojans and worms is becoming increasingly important.
Most people wont backup their computers so if you arent adequately protected you are likely to lose everything.....some viruses (dubbed ransomware) have been known to give you an address to send money to or ask to you to call a premium number and they will inturn send you an unlock code to deactivate the virus....true Internet piracy.......
The best advice is to invest in a commercially available anti virus software program such as Norton but in the meantime there are a few freebees around which will offer a level of protection - but be warned the "people" who generate these viruses are rife and anti virus programs are always playing catch up so always check twice before you click links in emails, before you install any software ensure it is from a reputable secure site.
- Microsoft themselves are offering Security Essentials from this site for free
- AVG from here
- AVAST from here
ItalyBound kindly sent me a link this morning reminding me that with all the depressing news going on around the world there are still success stories and hope for young talent. This particular talent is something to be heard and a far cry from the screams and swearing so often heard in todays "music".
In May 2009, we were watching a program on Italian TV called “Ti Lascio Una Canzone” and were stunned as young children stood on stage and sang with voices so incredible that you would have thought they were miming - talent in abundance and put any "talent" show in the UK to shame.
Three youngsters later teamed up and became Il Volo and have already released an album which has English songs as well as Italian.
This is a live performance........
PugliaLife wish them every success
With the long hot summer months drawing near its time to start thinking about your swimming pool maintenance and take a trip down to your suppliers and buy your bucket loads of chlorine and anti algicide - those with large pools are probably dreading this time of year as chemicals are not only costly they can damage the skin and irritate the eyes.......
I decided to take a look at two products that offer a different solution...one I have used before (floatron) and another called the aligator. Both use similar techniques in purifying your swimming pool and both require a small amount of chlorine still to be added to the pool as ionization does not deal with oils etc.
SILVER has long been known as a bacterial killer and used extensively by the medical profession before the introduction of antibiotics, and COPPER is recognized as one of the best algaecide killers known to man.
It was NASA that designed an ionization system for their Apollo flights, using copper silver electrodes to purify their water. We have used the same technique to kill the bacteria and algae found in swimming pools.
The Aligator is an inline system and mains driven so there are operating and installation costs but as you see below it self regulates and virtually runs itself without human intervention.
Here is how the Aligator works.
Safe controllable low voltage DC current is transmitted from the aligator Control unit to special anodes fitted in the water chamber where electrolysis takes place, causing solutions of Copper, Silver and other minerals to form in the water. These are called ions (atoms), hence the name “Ionic Purifiers”. These ions are positively charged (+) and are created in billions each second. All bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi spores are negatively charged (-) therefore the ions are attracted to the cells of contaminants, the copper ion damages the cell wall, allowing the silver ion to then penetrate and destroy the cell.
•Copper and Silver ions are pH neutral, non-corrosive and have no effect on the human body in the concentration used to treat the water.
•Minerals with none of the side effects of chlorine purify the water naturally.
•The ions are not oxidising agents like chlorine, so they do not burn up body fats, hair, and other organic matter. They only purify water and control algae and fungal development. Hence a small amount of chlorine is still required to burn off this organic matter.
•When using the aligator unit, the control of the current is automatic and self regulating, compensating for the conductivity and flow rate of the water.
The LIST price for the Aligator is £950
Floatron works in a similar way but is solar panel powered - you need to calculate your requirements based on pool size and depth - the major difference is that its powered by the sun and just drops into your pool....OK this saves installation costs but does need to be maintained.
Floatron costs around £250
Both of these systems offer a real alternative to the usual chemical based purification for pools and great to splash around without having sore eyes or itchy skin. Both of these systems will, in the long run save you money......
Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Italian carmaker Fiat Auto SpA, said the company was planning production of a Turkish-made car at the Bursa plant, according to reports from Turkish media. The Vatan daily newspaper reported Marchionne as saying at the North American International Auto Show that progress had been made on the issue in talks with Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leader has been pushing lately for a fully Turkish-made car. The newspaper added that the new model would be based on the Fiat Albea, which is being discontinued in other countries, and will be destined only for the local market. The Albea is made in Turkey by the Tofas joint venture of Fiat and Turkish industrial conglomerate Koc Holding. Tofas is jointly owned by Fiat and Koc Holding (37.8% of the company's shares belong to Fiat Group Automobiles, 37.8% to KoC Holding and 24.3% to others).
According to Tofas CEO Ali Pandir, Fiat would provide the technological infrastructure for the vehicle. Estimated initial production will be 200,000 units a year. Tofas currently makes several Fiat models under license, including the Palio, Albea, Doblo, Linea and Qubo. It also builds the Fiorino and its derivatives: the Peugeot Bipper, Citroen Nemo and Opel Combo.
I do not lay claim to this article it was published By Stephen Sackur but its so bizarre I thought I would share it with everyone.
Rene Redzepi is the Willy Wonka of food science, conducting gastronomic experiments so popular that customers fly round the world to eat at his £150-a-head Copenhagen restaurant.
If you have just thrown out your Christmas tree, may I make a suggestion? Next year don't dump it, burn it or shred it - just eat it.
Believe me, the needles from your average Christmas fir can be delicious.
How do I know? Well I am just back from the most extraordinary gastronomic journey of my life - the citrusy tang of freeze dried Christmas tree was just one of the surprises along the way.
My guide was Rene Redzepi, a bearded 34-year-old chef with intense brown eyes whose Copenhagen restaurant Noma is currently regarded by food critics as the world's finest.
Actually, to his worldwide legion of gastronomic disciples, labelling Redzepi as a cook is akin to defining Michelangelo as a jobbing painter and decorator.
From humble beginnings - he left school at 15 with no qualifications - Redzepi has developed a philosophy of food which embraces science, nature and art.
I met him in the teeth of a biting wind on a bleak quayside in the Danish capital. Rene's restaurant occupies the end of an old warehouse overlooking the water - but that was not our first destination.
Instead he took me to a sturdy houseboat tied up at the jetty. "Welcome to the Nordic Food Lab," he said with a smile.
If Willy Wonka had been Scandinavian, this is what his chocolate factory might have looked like.
Noma has featured among the world's top 10 restaurants for the last four years
Pine floor, white walls, clean lines, and on every available surface outlandish food experiments being conducted by white-coated technicians.
In one corner, an array of flasks bubbling with brown liquid. Nearby a centrifuge whirring. It would not have looked out of place in a nuclear lab.
"We're trying to break down peas to get at the natural pea fat. Maybe we can produce pea butter," Rene explained.
I was invited to taste a murky liquid from a small glass pipette. It tasted a lot like soy sauce. Apparently it was extracted from local seaweed.
This is what chef Redzepi calls "the science of deliciousness".
Live ants served
From freeze dried pine needles to fermented mackerel, 21st Century chemistry is being harnessed to the age-old quest for new flavours.
The raw materials are local - either foraged from the sea, the shore or the forest - or grown by a select band of trusted organic producers.
It is that commitment to authentic Nordic ingredients that defines Redzepi. No olive oil, no garlic, no reliance on air transport and the freezer to subvert the rhythm of the seasons.
This means that eating at this time of year is truly a taste of Nordic winter - bitter leaves, mushrooms, nuts, berries, and moss are in, but sun-dried tomatoes are most definitely out.
I confess I was nervous before taking my seat in the compact dining room. Foodies think nothing of flying half way round the world for a table here - reservations have to be made months in advance.
And there is something quite disconcerting about being one of 40 diners in a restaurant staffed by 70. Frankly even if a dish tastes disgusting, the pressure is on to empty your plate.
To my relief, the two dishes I had been most worried about - the live wriggling prawn and the live local ants (apparently they release a delicious lemon grassy acid taste when they expire in your mouth) were off the menu.
Many of the 16 courses were no bigger than a chicken nugget.
I will not bore you with every detail, but the highlights included - snail wrapped in nasturtium flowers, quail's egg served on a bed of smoking hay, mussels served in an edible seaweed shell, fried moss dusted with porcini shavings, and for pudding, an ice cream served in luminous green dill sauce.
Was it delicious? Well, as the curate said of his egg, it was in parts. But even when it was not, the experience was extraordinary.
Rene's international team of chefs served many of the dishes themselves. They explained the provenance of the food, the intricate preparation and the quest for perfect presentation.
They were neither fussy, nor pretentious - my heart warmed to a young Irish sous chef who whispered of his local cheese dish "You'll love the cracker because it tastes just like a Ritz".
Given the cost - dinner starts at £150 a head - and the long waiting list for a reservation, Noma is an experience for the lucky few.
But Rene Redzepi's obsession, serving food that in his words gives you "a sense of time and place to your very bones" is surely relevant to us all.
Come to think of it, I have got a fir tree in the garden. I have got a lawn full of moss and some very strange fungi growing in my borders. Lunch, anyone?
Olive oil is well known for its nourishing properties and it is well regarded as an aid to over-all health.
But have you tried olive oil for your hair?
This is an easy way to enhance the health and vitality of your hair. Olive oil works as a natural hair conditioner. It helps to make your hair softer and more manageable.
It's cheap as chips to do and you may well find that you already have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen cupboard!
Most people should have no problems in using olive oil for hair; if in doubt, always consult your physician before embarking upon any treatment.
Put about 100 ml of oil into a shallow bowl. If you keep your olive oil in the fridge, do this several hours before you need it so that it gets a chance to warm through to room temperature.
Sit with a towel wrapped around your shoulders. Don't wear anything which might be ruined by oil spots (it will wash out but it's a nuisance.)
- Brush your hair through and then part your hair carefully with a comb or brush.
- Dip your fingers into the oil and use your finger tips to carefully massage the oil into your scalp.
- Re-part your hair an inch or so away from the first parting and repeat the process.
- Cover your entire scalp this way, paying particular attention to hard to reach areas like the back of your neck.
When you are ready, unwrap your hair and wash it carefully (You may need slightly more of it than normal.)
When your hair is dry you will find that it is soft and silky and easy to manage. If you find that your hair is at all greasy after using olive oil, use less next time and maybe try a shampoo for greasy hair.
You can also infuse the oil prior to use with rosemary etc
The dilemma for a most of us is how pure is the water coming out of our taps - is it drinkable? I think in most part the answer is no not really so off we go to the taps scattered around our towns and fill up our 5 litres of aqua potabile so we can have drinking water in our homes.
There are many systems out there that will give you "pure" water - we had one fitted ourselves but it took forever to fill and the pump ran for ages so its now disconnected and stored in a shed.
Searching around I came across this little gadget that attaches to your tap and provides "pure" water as and when you need it....they say also that attach it to the tap feeding your washing machine and clothes come out white again.......a test yet to be proven in the countryside.
The Ozone Boy is connected to your kitchen tap and is powered by an internal hydroelectric generator which allows ozone gas to dissolve in the water as it flows from the tap. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer similar to chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, but does not leave a chemical residual in the water and dissipates after a few minutes.
The ozone generator comes with a variety of tap connectors so all you have to do is un-screw your existing faucet aerator and screw on the adapter.
To read more go to :- this site
Your new TV is likely smarter than you realise!
It's rumoured that Apple will be introducing a "Smart TV" in 2012. Doubtless this will get the usual free promotional ride from the Apple fanboys that seem to dominate our media (and countless plugs from Steven Fry). But the truth here is somewhat more prosaic: likely you arrived at Smart TV before TJMC (The Jobs Marketing Corporation) invented it! How can this be? Well, if you've bought a TV - particularly a large TV - recently then it is likely to have one of those funny oversized phone-type connector holes hiding somewhere around the backside, or in some nook or cranny of its swanky thin frame. That connector may be labelled Ethernet, or Internet, or have an international symbol hinting at this. In the trade it's called an RJ45 socket.
Why didn't anyone tell you that your telly could surf the web? The bleak truth is that outside of the manufacturer or distributor no one actually knew, or even cared. The "Internet thing" was just another near meaningless check-box item on a sales sticker or advertising flyer. Even if those Euronics sales staff had been educated into selling it, it would have been a hard sell to Mario Rossi, and involved all sorts of awkward questions that would have had them out of their depth in seconds. Every manufacturer has a different take on Internet connectivity, and it changes by the month as new firmware is developed. That's because even though they've left the factory long long ago, almost universally, Internet appliances are able to download their own firmware updates.
Old Box New Tricks
Yes, your new telly can probably learn new tricks through its Internet connection! Many can download custom "apps" just like your smart-phone. Those applications often include ones showing YouTube videos, and increasingly the catch-up services of the various TV networks such as BBC iPlayer. Next year the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, along with service providers BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva are to launch their YouView service, though this has been a long time coming. I confess to finding Google Maps applets particularly absorbing and impressive on a fifty inch screen.
The Science Bit (non-techies skip ahead)
OK, so you find you've got all these smarts; but what next? How do you make them work for you? Obviously you need Broadband Internet (and what Pugliese residence doesn't boast at least 8M bit ADSL these days? ), and a method to connect to it. Some TVs are configured to accept a WiFi dongle in one of their USB connectors, but you'll have to be sure it's a one the manufacturer has programmed and tested for. Often they want to sell you the "correct one" as an expensive option, and for a lot more than you'd expect to pay for one for your computer.
Better by far to use that Ethernet connector and wire the TV directly to your Internet box. You can do this directly, or fit an Ethernet wall box just like you would with a TV aerial or phone connection. The obvious advantage of having a wall-box is that it makes things easier to move around and reconfigure. If your TV is a distance away from your Internet box then you could run some "Category 5" Ethernet cable around the outside of the building. This sort of thin, eight core, cable used to be very cheap, but like all copper items has multiplied in price in recent years.
The Future is Real Soon
Ultimately you'll want to fit a small Ethernet hub somewhere beside the telly so that all your other boxes can also talk to the Internet (and each other). So providing a wall-box and making a good job of the data wiring will pay off. If your TV doesn't presently have an Ethernet connection then there's a chance that your Blu-Ray player or other Set Top Box does, and so can provide the TV with some smarts right now.
You can see the way things are going! This year the telly; next the washing machine and the fridge; everything is going to go on-line! You household appliances will be able to report their maintenance state to the manufacturer - who will use this as a profit centre to sell you more services you can't possibly be without. Consider that this new fridge may attempt to restock itself by browsing its favourite supermarket website, and charging its purchases to your credit card. So beware, you may need to tell it not to do this again, and give it a severe fire-walling! The future is sure to be filled with Basil Fawltys reprimanding their cars!
Article: ©2011 PugliaLife.com
Polenta has undergone a sequence of modifications since its birth - several thousand years ago.
Polenta's name was originally derived from puls, or pulmentum which first names were given to the dish that was the centre of the Roman diet. In its earliest days, polenta was made from grain usually millet or spelt, a primitive form of wheat, or cece bean (a.k.a. garbanzo bean, chick pea) flour.
Polenta was not made from corn until hundreds of years later; corn itself was not introduced into Europe until 1650.
Pulemntum was the staple cuisine of Roman soldiers, whose field ration consisted of two pounds of grain. The soldiers would toast the grain on a hot stone oven fire, crush it, and store it in their haversacks. When they stopped and constructed a bivouac, the soldiers would grind the grain to a gruel-like consistency, and boil it to form porridge. The soldiers would consume it in this form, or allow it to harden into a semi-leavened cake.
Though a consistent diet of this sounds rather bland to our thoroughly seasoned tastes, this victual served to nourish the presumably ravenous appetites belonging to the conquerors of the ancient world.
As time passed, the basic ingredients involved in the preparation of polenta changed as well: millet and smelt were replaced by barley. When popular tastes agreed that barley was too bland, it was substituted with the ancient grain far, which was more palatable type of wheat than smelt.
Curiously enough, polenta, when allowed to harden on a hot stone served as the first bread. What we identify today as bread was unknown in ancient times largely because of two reasons: First, technology did not allow for grain to be ground fine enough for flour. As milling methods improved, the crushed grains of pulmentum were processed into farina - the first genuine flour.
Second, yeast, the ingredient necessary when making bread was very difficult to acquire, and exceedingly expensive; for in those times, it was grown primarily in Gaul. If we were to travel as far back as the centuries immediately preceding Christ's birth, yeast was most often made from residual dough which had been allowed to ferment.
To manufacture genuine flour was still very tedious, and polenta remained the preference of aristocrats and towns people alike. Small amounts of flour were purchased by Roman aristocrats who could afford the luxury, and was used to powder their noses! As life allowed more specialisation in fields of occupation, The Roman Empire's first professional cooks emerged, and the dish began to take a variety of different forms.
Today there are lots of recipes that include this "peasant" food and every one of them I have tried have been exceptionally tasty.
See this photo? That's a Noble, a McLaren MP4-12C and a Lamborghini Aventador being prepped for taping in Lecce, Italy. And what trio of personalities will be piloting these exotic machines? None other than Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, of course. Top Gear is about to get its Roman and rural Italian groove on.
We'll look forward to finding out next season why they've paired the two English with the Italian – a grouping that, especially in Italy, seems the equivalent of bringing a bull to a knife fight.
Article by Jonathon Ramsey