By 7 a.m. on a winter's day in the heart of medieval Florence, the queue for the Uffizi Gallery's ticket booth already winds around the block. Bundled against frigid winds off the nearby Arno River, thousands of tourists wait outside for two hours or more for a glimpse of the world's best collection of Renaissance art.
A general rule of thumb when dealing with protesters is that they don't like to be tricked. So when hundreds of would-be demonstrators from across Italy took advantage Saturday of discount train tickets offered to those participating in the peaceful anti-Bush demonstrations in Rome, they were a little more than miffed to find their discount wasn't exactly a bargain.
Chef Heinz Beck's kitchen at Rome's exquisite La Pergola restaurant is arguably one of the best in the Eternal City, serving up innovative cuisine like cannelloni with duck, foie gras in kuzu béchamel, and venison in a pistachio crust with chestnut purée and persimmon jam to a discerning international clientele.
Now you can stay warm and manage to still look hot riding your Vespa this winter. Tucano Urbano, the leader in moped and motor-cycle accessories, has just added a line of fur- and cashmere-lined faux-zebra or -leopard leg aprons that recycle air from the radiator in order to keep you warm ($200 to $800; tucanourbano.it ).
Last fall, when the Naples police were mopping up blood from the cobblestones near Piazza Plebiscito after a fatal Camorra shoot-out, the orchestra at the nearby Teatro di San Carlo opera house was preoccupied with another violent scene: the battle in Leonard Bernstein's "Candide." Given the violence outside, those inside the San Carlo had reason to believe it would be a good season; in the house's 270-year history, trouble in the streets has often translated into better attendance.
Forget red wine; forget pasta. Nothing, not even mamma, is more important to the average Italian than soccer. So when what looks to be the biggest money-laundering, game-fixing, mafia-esque scandal in the history of world soccer cripples Italy just weeks before the World Cup, what do the Italians do?