Monday, September 7
Travel in Italy: The good, the bad, the ugly
Francesca Maggi's...Strange But True!
Returning home to Rome from Venice yesterday, a very strange item caught my eye (and I don't mean one of the godawful exhibits from the Biennale): Since Venice seemed to have hit the trifecta what with the Regata Storica with the Corteo delle Barche Storiche, the Cinema Festival (with appearances by Nicolas Cage, George Clooney & even Michael Moore -- not that he's something to look at...but...) and the Biennale of Art, turns out that a number of additional trains were added to ease the pain of the journey. In fact, a friend most likely missed his train, but there were about 4 more shortly thereafter to choose from. So what's my beef?
These trains were paid for by the City of Venice and not quickly added because of a swift move by an astute business manager at Trenitalia. I know this should be an entry in my Business Weak column, but I just couldn't wait. Too bad the City probably doesn't make the money back on the train tickets.
There's been a lot of talk about the Vatican these days, but, what was really interesting, was the little piece of news this summer of the parish priest who went on a hunger strike in order to drum up parishioners.
Perhaps instead he should be looking at some outreach programs to actually attract his flock rather than doing the religious equivalent of sitting on a railroad track while hoping someone higher up solves the problem.
While in Milan, they continue their mad drive to brighten their image. Incredibly, even for a vocal non-smoker like me, the City has made a move to ban smoking in public parks. Whether this molto Big Brother move actually passes, I can't say, but...I think it's a bit over the top.
And finally, I finally got to see and use Venice's spanking new bridge over the Grand Canal! [that's because the boats were stopped due to the Regata...]. Stunningly designed by the sometimes-talented Santiago Calatrava, it was a sight to behold. It links the parking structure place (Piazzale Roma with it's dozens of bus lines and transporters) with the railway station. Calatrava obviously let the anti-luggage geniuses over at Trenitalia dictate the design -- for anyone who needs to schlep their luggage, or glide over on a wheelchair, just forget it. No center ramp easing your way up the incline for you. (just ask me or any Japanese tourist, who needs a sherpa when traveling).