Friday, June 1

Tante Belle Cose - Great things about Italy

When it comes to good things that happened in Italy, this month started out with a real bang - the bang being the sound of all those cages being opened by four courageous animal rights activists who set a number of pooch prisoners free.  They went in like Seal Team Six to the Beagle Puppy Farm whose name Green Hill makes it sound like it was a franchise run by Snoopy and his brother, Spike, both of whom came from the Daisy Hill puppy farm. 
foto from
Within its walls, the American pharmaceutical company, Marshall raises them in cages and readies them for testing; having chosen Italy as one of its outposts since Italy has yet to pass the law making the practice illegal [despite having a very active anti-vivisection league].  Former Tourism Minister Brambilla urged her colleagues to finally pass Article 14 - outlawing raising animals for testing purposes.  Sadly, it will only be a battle won.  The Company will be sure to move on to the next country they can find to practice their Dr. Mengele experiments on man's best friend.  
My expedient?  Sue Marshall Pharma for having sullied the great name of the Marshall Plan that saved many war torn countries after WWII. And maybe Charles Shulz' heirs can get into the act too.
the new Roman columns
Speaking of dogs, this month I got checked for carrying pooper-scoopers when out with my little dog, Arcibaldo.  Too bad, they check at the dog run with all the women at the park in midday.  They need to come 'round my neighborhood at 11 at night and hit up all the macho guys with their huge beasts that drop equally immense piles on all the walkways, only to pretend it never happened. 
And speaking of parks, after this year's incredible February snowstorm felled many a fine tree, Rome's Villa Borghese received an implant of sorts with dozens of new tall pines brought in. Now if they would just go all around town and remove all the tree stumps left behind from all the times that trees have died or fallen, we truly would have a beautiful cityscape all around Rome.
And finally, the best news to come out of my neighborhood in a long time:  The arrival of Ben&Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream sold in some of the coffee bars.  Sometimes, globalization just plain rocks - as hard as Rocky Road-ish.  And, at nearly $7 a pint, I won't even have to worry about it affecting my girth.  Special occasions only (but I still get the whole pint).


TEFL Ninja said...

you have Ben&Jerrys!


Wonder if/when it will appear in my corner of the boot ( :

Irreverent Italy said...

Just saw this: March on the 30th of June for the closure of Green Hill...

Viva l'Italia!

Irreverent Italy said...

Here are the details for anyone who might be interested:

Ritrovo ore 15.30 – Luogo da confermare
Info email:

Dave514 said...

Poop on the streets of Roma! It's a tourists obstacle course!

But what is the real reason that lurks behind all this pooperation? Are Italians lazy...not really. Are they dumb....only when they wear a uniform...WWII you know. So what's really behind it all... a

It's the only way that the common man can fight bureaucracy and get away with it.

So poop on you!

TEFL Ninja said...

Dave, I think it is based on habit more than anything else.

I remember as a kid England seemed to be slathered in dog poo. And then it became relabled as Highly Antisocial, and people started to pick it up.

Round my way in Lomellina you very very rarely see poo just left, and most people have little bags decorating their leads.

Even when I hop up to Milan it is radically better than it was when I first arrived. Back in those days you practically could ski down the road due to the doggie droppings all over the place.

Irreverent Italy said...

Habit? Or lack of a sense of community (except when an earthquake hits or a soldier gets shot down)...?

TEFL Ninja said...

I'd say habit to be honest. A sense of community is made of thousands of Individual actions, of which poo removal is one.

As the spotlight falls on one specific action and identifies it as being anti social not to change a behavoir where there is a sense of community/civic duty people tend to respond.

We saw it in the 70s in the UK with the don't be a litterbug campaign and quite a few years later making an issue of picking up your dog poo had a similar impact.

More or less with the same success as I have seen here. Although it seems to require more of a local push in the right direction here rather than national campaigns.

I don't think Italians can be accused of lacking a sense of community, it might not reveal itself in the same way as it does where I come from, but it is there.

My next door neighbours aren't newsworthy, and certainly nobody got shot, but the whole place rallied round for the both the short and the long term, with quiet and sustained, practical and emotional, quasi invisible support, when an unexected event knocked them for six. I've seen similar scenarios of support over the years where much the same has been done. Certainly we would have been screwed if people were less open to practical support and understanding, MIL is seriously mentally ill and here, like most countries, mental health services are far too thin on the ground. And I'm not talking solely immediate neighbours, pleanty of complete strangers have taken the time to track us down, or bring her home while we were scouring Milan frantically trying to find the woman currently spitting in the face of some nice random person who is going above and beyond to try and keep her safe.

I still find it seriously impressive. Mainly cos it is in such contrast with all the nice middle classed English people, who wouldn't dream of dropping litter or leaving poo where it lay, but didn't lift a damn finger when my family had an unexpected event, leaving three children *visibly* in a difficult place. Suddenly all the coffee mornings stopped and at the worst possible time my mother was suddenly rendered utterly isolated, while surrounded by people who knew and (allegedly) liked her.

While I vastly prefer a dog poo free pavement and am very pleased it is no longer the problem it was, if I had to choose I'm not sure I'd swap the "sense of community" priorities of home for the ones I see more valued here.

Essentially it might just be a case that Brits tend to work from the outside in (with the highest value placed on the more visible civic duty on display in public ) and Italians tend to work from the inside out (starting with the highest value placed on supporting extended family, and next immediate neighbours, quarter, town etc.). Heads you get more poo+litter+selfish parking, tails you find yourself more likely to be fending for yourself when it all goes bent.

Dave514 said...

I think you've hit the jackpot!!!

It's amazing what a little poo will do...LOL!!!