January 8, 2011

What's New In Italy For 2011 (Updated)


You won’t believe it, but visitors to Italy will find less anarchy in 2011. That’s what you’ll discover by reading this report in MSNBC Today Show. Take Rome, for example, where the Colosseum is being cleaned from top to bottom and given permanent lighting.

Or take Florence, where the streets around the Duomo have recently been pedestrianized, and the Uffizi Gallery is undergoing a renovation, scheduled for completion this summer, while the Galileo Science Museum will open after significant renovation later this spring. Or take Pisa, where the Leaning Tower is now open late on summer evenings, making it possible to tour the landmark and survey the Field of Miracles from above after dark, and Milan, where the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana will host an important special exhibit from now through 2015, displaying 22 pages from Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus, or Venice with its new museum, The Punta della Dogana, housed in the former Customs House at the end of the Canal Grande

An uplifting reading—always welcome!—in time of scarcity.

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UPDATE - January 9, 2011, 9:00 am

An article in the New York Times has selected Milan, where “a reborn cathedral joins fashion-forward galleries and hotels,” as the number five place to go in 2011. According to Ingrid K. Williams, “Compared with the Italian troika of tourism—Florence, Venice and Rome—Milan is often an afterthought. But with novel, eye-catching design emerging around the city, that should soon change.”



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A Man's Best Friend


The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only be may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.



~ George Graham Vest (1830-1904), United States Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903. Closing arguments from the trial in which damages were sought for the killing of a dog named Old Drum on Oct 18, 1869 [Thanks: Sandra Kennedy Schimmelpfennig]



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