As I end the year, happily ensconsed in a tiny country house on the property of a Franciscan Monastery (ex, i might add, although the church is still consecrated) in the breathtaking Sabine Hills just outside Rome, dog-sitting for a friend (who has taken in all manner of strays...) and, in between wandering fields of olive groves, perusing 1st century ruins and a breath-taking church, while sharing convivial holiday rites with friends and neighbors, well, of course, this is, the Why We All Love Italy, isn't it??
And, while another stray just showed up today (he must have heard that the food was good in this joint), gives one pause, and tomorrow alas, I must face the evils of the Italian POST OFFICE...(and, I will spare you the gory details of the dressing down I recently received there for -- gasp! - daring to cross the threshhold -- double gasp!! -- and attempt to post 2 pkgs 15 mins. before closing time on the 24th!!!!), I do want to offer you a few things to be thankful for which occurred in December and will hopefully bring us more faith in the system in 2008:
Rome's City Govt has launched an exceptional ad campaign against giving dogs for Christmas...this is a good thing. A very good thing. At least one Animal Rights Office is trying at long last to nip the problem of dogs abandoned each summer in the bud. Let's just hope the campaign gets picked up all over the country.
The Italians have spearheaded the campaign against Capital Punishment at the UN.
Not only was a drawing by possibly Michelangelo just discovered in the Vatican archives, but they have just uncovered two stunning marble wings from the Palatine Hill. One wouldn't think there was anything left after centuries of pillaging, bombardments, and tourists.
The Rome City government has decided to freeze the Garbage Tax through 2009. The tax is so high, you'd think the TA.RI agency stood for Tax of Rumplestiltskin -- they were literally weaving the stuff into gold.
The Ministry for Youth held a competition to offer monies to young people with a terrific business or idea to improve our world. Turns out they were bombarded by "recommendations" - which, incredibly, they threw each and every one straight into the circular file...saying they were sick & tired of this culture of raccomandazioni, and wanted to base the competition on pure merit. Let's hope this idea is one that will take off.