Is there anything more Italian than this?

Like a national flag for me.

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Tough times for Italy

A very difficult period is what Italy and Italians are facing right now, in the last weeks, we’ve seen a manager of an Italian company Ansaldo Nucleare shoot in his legs; a crazy and unheard of attack to a school; a powerful earthquake in Northern Italy and a small attack in Liguria against a polling station; and a great series of people who killed themselves because of the economic crisis.

I do not think there is or there will be a new wave of terrorism like the one we got in 70s, by then there was a strong ideology, there was the Cold War, there was a climate of violence often made up by the State itself. At the moment Italy is a different country, with less ideology, where people who kill in the name of them (anarchists, communists, etc.) are outcasts, criminals and I think not to healthy mentally. Perhaps there would be other attacks in the future but not an organized escalation like in the past.

The earthquake it’s a terrible reality for all of us who live in the Peninsula, it’s our Sword of Damocles, I think most of the population has at least once in their life experienced an earthquake, it’s difficult to describe, it depends on many things, but for sure you feel utterly confused and scared, you could start running or you could freeze. Anyway it is a tragedy with no proper solution, plenty of Italians live in homes with scores of years (me too) and with no, or few measures against earthquakes, not to mention our historical buildings. It’s very sad but it’s a tragedy we cannot stop.

The crisis is pushing a lot of people to kill themselves, throwing families into pieces and leaving a feelings of no hope to the community. It is sad but I think it’s our fault, we have driven the country to a nearly bankruptcy and now the world has brought to us the bill. Nevertheless what Hollande, Obama and everyone else say if you spent only what you get you wouldn’t have any problem.

Someone else tried to use the dramatic and crazy attack of Brindisi, at a school, like a clue of their previsions, talking about the danger that the crisis and the austerity have brought in the society, before there was any evidence to explain the reasons of it. Only shame for those jackals of the politics.

A new national character

The last of the Agnellis

Following that punishment for the scandal called “Calciopoli” which means: “football town or the town of football”, in Italy after another scandal at the beginning of ’90s called “Tangentopoli”, “the town of bribery”, every major scandal has been called somenthing-poli; they lost not only the Serie A but also two League titles won in the preceding years.

The first thing the new management of the company done after winning the last Scudetto was to said: “This is the 30th and not the 28th.”, which means they count two more titles even if the justice had rubbed them off from their history and handed them to another team (Inter FC).

More than a party it was a declaration of war. They didn’t spend their first moment as Italian champions making party, they’d preferred spend that moments arguing with other teams, other fans, the justice.

It could seem the caprice of some rich guys who lead a company, Mr Agnelli, or another special character of the Italian population that consists in not accepting a sentence even if all evidences are against us. I like to think to this new Italian attitude as a gift from the years of Berlusconism. Anyway, I do not think Mr Agnelli was fighting a war to win it, I think he was just trying to increase the loyalty of Juventus’ supporters, who were deeply hit by the sentence some years ago.

So playing that dirty game he is trying to use the “bunker tactic”, everyone is against us, the journalists, the judges, the other fans, or in other words if you are not one of us you are an enemy, to strengthen ties between the company and the fans. Of course it is working.

I cannot imagine that people of good willingness could think to win in court and get back the two titles and I think that a man wanted to ruin the celebration for their first title in years only because he thought someone had stolen two titles (when there are evidences that they were guilty), there must be something else. I think that else is a sad marketing operation, first you cry for an (alleged) injustice then you strengthen your fans around their pride, their membership and then you start increasing prices, selling more t-shirts and get you brand a step closer to a faith than to a mere commercial brand. And as a plus you make what is left of the Italian football a little more sad and dirt, congratulation Juventus.

Italian brain drain can’t be stopped

Here is the proof, when dozens of governments and dozens of ideas and projects have been put in place, as well as tax benefits and everything we have been able to think, there is always something that goes wrong and stops our best guys to come back to their mother land.

This is the exemplary story of Renzo Bossi, a young Italian brain, who got his degree abroad, in Albania, he managed to get it without even went to that country, that’s a proof of its value rather than the contrary like his enemies sustained, abroad they really know how to recognize a true talent. Here in our poor country, he had to take the final exam of the high school four times before pass it; and just a year later he got his degree, he was so smart that the Albanian University enrolled him before he got his high school diploma.

Now judges and even Albanian police want to question him because the degree could be a fake…well I have to admit I am a loss for words…when our country at last managed to get back an Italian brain that is what happened…

We’re all here for you Renzo “Il trota” (the trout), don’t give up! Hold on for all the people who are in your situation!

In Apulia they like transparency

Today when we plan a journey abroad the main source of information cannot be other than Internet, where you can find information about everything. So I suppose that every tourist interested in visit the Southern region of Apulia can easily become aware that a certain level of micro criminality is spread almost everywhere. I’m not telling it’s a dangerous place, but there are a number of crimes against the tourists.

A nice initiative of the police and other local authority was to print a small leaflet with some advice about personal security and what to do if you are victim of a crime.

You can find it here: http://download.repubblica.it/pdf/repubblica-bari/2012/poliziadefinitivo3.pdf

But the Region asked to retire it and to destroy it because it gives a bad image of Apulia. In 2012 they still think that the opinion of a tourist is made by a leaflet born to help him. In 2012 they still think to be able to hide the problem of a tourist destination by throwing it out. So they are not denying the problem or saying they exaggerate the span of it, they said: do not tell anyone it exists; and what’s more they’re assuming that Internet doesn’t exist. Good for them.

Home sweet home

Office's life

This morning I had to call a public office which is open only between 10 to 12, yes just two hours a day. The secretary who I talked to said that his boss is at a union meeting until 12, at least, I replied that the office closed at exactly that time, and so she told me to try all the same after that because (perhaps, naturally) someone will answer, because the other employees are either sick (2 over 4, like in the Middle Ages during the Plague) or are working on another case (1 over 4, like in Ussr). What could I say then? I just thank her for her time and hung up. Home sweet home…

Useful tips about do the shopping in Italy

Shop window

If you are just landed in Italy, or if you have to spend some months in our Peninsula you could find useful some advice about do the shopping in the right way, saving money and getting the most of it.

Italy is well-known to be a sort of heaven for what concern shopping, especially about clothing and food. But behind most of the shop windows there is an unpleasant clerk.

This is a widespread problem in Italy, sometimes our shops can be very expensive and this is another major issue, but someone could argue that the stuffs are of very high quality, I could even agree, but what I really cannot stand is impoliteness and no-one can say that Italian clerks are polite, because is untrue.  It’s something that literally drive me crazy, and in many shops you would find those kind of people getting around.

So if you have a bad experience in an Italian shop just keep in mind that  it’s not about you it’s something “normal”.

Let’s talk about shopping, where do you have to go to get yourself a bargain?

1. Take a look at the leaflets (in Italian: “volantini”) of the big malls, they’re everywhere in Italy, but most typically on the sidewalks in front of you, or in your mailbox. They’re very useful if you can buy what they called “prodotti sottocosto” it means goods sold below their cost, in Italy they bound to use that words only if they really paid to get those products more than they are going to sell yo;, there is a law that protect consumers. So you could get really great bargains through this way but you have to read tons of leaflets.

2. If you just need food for everyday you could do your shopping in every discount, the most famous are: Dico, Eurospin and a couple of other on regional basis. And of course Lidl, where if you are European and are used to do the shopping at their store could feel at home. Even though they sell almost the same things everywhere in Europe, that is not completely true, so you could in the end be disappointed that your mutton brain sauce is not sold in Italy.

3. What about all those small shops in High Street or in the narrow streets of ours beautiful towns? Well, you could put it in this way: they’re just a marketing operation, they pretend to sell you the really and only Italian typical products that you cannot find anywhere, but as a matter of fact they sold the same thing of you nearest mall at three times the price.

4. What about the malls then? There are plenty of them and a good chunk of them are the same as everywhere in Europe, there are lots of Auchan, Carrefour, Leclerc and so on, and someone typical Italian like “Coop” a huge chain of malls, where to get yourself the best discount you need to become member of their cooperative; yes, it sounds weird. Despite of most of the other shopping centre they will ask you for 25 Euro to become member. But keep calm, and consider that if you plan to go to do the shopping on weekly basis at one of their store you will get surely more than 25 Euro of discount a year, and before you leave, if you leave, you could go and ask for your money, they will drop off your membership and handle back it.

5. What about The Famous Italian Online Commerce? I have no idea of what you’re talking about! Online commerce is slowly booming in Italy, if you google online commerce in Italy you’ll find thousands of article which say there’s a huge growth in online commerce. But the amount of money is so little (in comparison to other similar countries in Europe) that even a small increase, in percentage seems bigger than it is, so I suppose that we’ll have a market like the British one in two thousand and never. Obviously that has consequences on the market. Few online shops and prices very high. Furthermore many websites do not keep up with their promises and often buyers experience problems, so don’t trust everyone online. How could you recognise a good website? Well you could rely on feedback from other users, but unfortunately they are usually in Italian, in fact they could be useless for you. Hence the best option could prove to be rely on the biggest players in the field: Ebay and Amazon. The Italian website of Ebay is well organised and full of bargains, but be careful because the Italian sellers are usually very impolite, they try to not to answer your question or simply ignored them and often give you misleading replies. And whatsmore keep in mind that if you order from foreigner sellers (British, French, German are the most present on the market) you will save a lot of money! Because their expedition costs are lower than ours. For example if a British man would send me a standard package from London to Italy he would pay less than anyone who would sell the same pack in Italy! It’s cheaper to send a pack from Birmingham to Rome than from Milan to Rome. And as always for the same reason the more competition between foreign sellers make them goods often cheaper than the ones of Italian sellers, even with a weak Euro. Notice that if you bought goods inside the European Union you wouldn’t need any formalities nor taxes on what you purchase. While if you bought something from China or US you’d pay high fares for expedition and VAT at the Italian customs. Amazon.it as well as ebay.it suffers from the same lack of competition, in their defence I could say that they opened just a year ago and that for electronic goods their prices are excellent, being beaten only by those of the malls when they offer below cost discounts. But if you are looking for something else (clothing and everything else you could find on amazon.com) you’d better take a look at amazon.co.uk, their British website offers a huge range of products at very low prices and if you spend 25 £ they’ll send your goods in Italy for free. It’s a fast service too. And you have also the comfort to surf a website written in English. Lately this has become my first choice, because they have plenty of bargains, plenty of products that amazon.it has not and you could get astonishing discount on everything.

That’s all for toady, I hope this guide will be useful for someone.