Got any spare change?

When you read “do you have change?”, are you picturing a beggar asking for some spare coins?  Italy has more than its fair share of those, but think again – the person most likely to ask you for change in Italy is the person working the cash register at a supermarket. I don’t know for…

The Metal Mechanic

Or, translated from the Italian “metalmeccanico” more accurately, “machinist”.  When I hear that word, I picture someone working with high-end precision tools to make machine parts, or something like that.  Little did I know, however, that I, a computer programmer with little to no knowledge of power tools or metal working of any kind, am…

Schifo!

“Disgusting, gross, repellent, icky, revolting” are how the dictionary translates “schifoso” or something that “fa schifo!” (literally ‘it makes disgust!’), but it’s such a delightful word to use because it sounds so right. You pronounce it “SKI-fo”, but you can really draw it out depending on how repugnant the object in question is.  “Che SSSSCHIIIIIIFO!”,…

Visiting the Doctor in Italy

My parents were visiting us recently, and had come down with persistent colds that were beginning to feel like sinus infections because of how long they had dragged on.  That’s a condition best judged by a doctor, and their own doctor was on the other side of the world, in the US.  What to do?  We…

Fighting for the sheets – or not

Despite the stagnant economy, Italy is still a wonderful, beautiful place that would take many, many lifetimes to fully explore and comprehend.  And yet, for those of us who live here, sometimes it’s nice to go further abroad on vacations, and from here in the North East, the closest countries are Austria and Slovenia. Both…

Crazy Science in Italy

Being from the US, hearing weird explanations for things from religious crazies is something that's not entirely out of the ordinary, unfortunately. However, that sort of thing is generally rarer in Europe, and even in Italy, where the presence of the Catholic church is strong, they tend to limit themselves to politics and morality, rather…

Italian legislator caught looking at ‘naughty’ web sites while parliament in session

Alla Camera consulta le foto delle escort The ex mayor of Bari, one of Berlusconi's supporters in the Italian parliament, was caught looking at web sites of several prostitues in parliament on his iPad. Here's the original article and some of the incriminating photos: http://www.oggi.it/focus/06-2011/deputato-caccia-escort-parlamento-307006342.shtml He was "just curious" he says.  Uh huh.