Category Archives: Lifestyle

Emperor Nero villa reopens

The first large villa constructed for Emperor Nero (37 – 68 AD) on the Palatine Hill in Rome is opening its doors to public. ‘Domus Transitoria‘ (Transitory House) was opulent and refined, erected with the grandeur inspired by the Ptolemaic palaces.
The villa was closed down and buried at the emperor’s order after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD and replaced with the larger and more sumptuous Domus Aurea (Golden House).

After a decade long restoration, the villa’s 800 square meters will open to the public as part of a new guided tour on Nero daily from Monday to Friday.

The tour is reserved to small groups of visitors who will be able to admire the colored marbles, fountains and red porphyry columns thanks to the new lighting and 3D visors.

The villa is dedicated to water, one of the reasons why it has been confused for a long time with the thermal baths of Livia, archaeologists say.

Columns and niches decorate this opulent space.
Archaeologists explain that Emperor Nero enjoyed to spend the hottest hours of summer days in this room, under a large patio, which was probably covered with a wooden decorated ceiling or perhaps only protected by opulent curtains.

In 59 AD, the Emperor Nero was determined to have his mother assassinated. Historian Suetonius claims Nero tried to poison her 3 times. After a number of failures, he finally plotted a sinking of her boat, the accident she did not survive.

Emperor Nero made public appearances as an actor, poet, musician and charioteer. In the eyes of many of his contemporaries  this undermined the dignity and authority of his person, status, and office. Nero’s extravagant program of public and private works was funded by a significant rise in taxes that was much resented by the middle and upper classes.

 

 

Italy champion of wine exports

Italy wine exports were worth 6.2 billion, keeping Italy second only to France in the ranking of world producers, said the report of the institute of Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (ISMEA).

The value of Italian wine exports is up 3.3% in 2018 and has increased by 70% over the last decade.

Italy produced 55 million hectolitres of wine in 2018, an increase of 29% with respect to the previous year. In a report ISMEA said that 20 million hectolitres of that wine was sold abroad.

Germany stays in the lead in volumes of imports of Italian wines, followed by USA, UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Russia and Sweden. However is value is considered, the Americans trend to buy the most expensive wines, followed by Germans and Britons. The Japanese are also partial of Italian wines, entering the list of 10 top importers in both volumes and value category.

Region of Puglia  delivers around 17% of the Italy’s total wine production,  producing more wine than any other region in Italy.

 

 

UK prepares post-Brexit travel

“The rules for travel to most countries in Europe change if the UK leaves the European Union (EU) with no deal ”  the UK government announces.

“After 12 April 2019:

  1. You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.
  2. If you renewed a passport before it expired, up to 9 extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.

The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.” FCO Travel advise explains.

Viking Sky passengers evacuation continues

The ship dropped anchor or both anchors while disabled and drifting towards shore. Situation was very critical and absolutely unpredictable. If the crew failed to restart engines and stop drift, the ship could be pushed onto rocks, with hull breaches, water ingress and very high probability of sinking. Severe storm and high sea wouldn’t allow the use of lifeboats for evacuation. So rescuers were in very dire straits indeed, whether to launch highly dangerous airlift by helicopters, or wait and pray for lucky escape. I strongly believe, that the decision to launch evacuation by helicopters was justified, right, and responsible.” Maritime Bulletin comments.

At present the air-sea rescue continues, while 400 passengers have been already transported by helicopters to land.

The vessel has since restarted three of its four engines and is moving towards the nearest port with the assistance of tugboats.

Rescuers are working to airlift all 1,300 people stranded on a cruise ship off the west coast of Norway.

The Viking Sky lost power on March 23 and sent out a distress signal after it began drifting towards land.

Venice introduces visitors fee

With the slogan ‘make sure we don’t become like Venice‘, they do not mean that they sink into the water, but drown under mass tourism. With a tourist tax the city of Doges hopes to avert the disaster. Will that work and, if so, who will follow the Venetian example, Knack magazine inquires, rising issue of problems of mass tourism.

Venice suffers as consequence its own beauty. On the Rialto Bridge, in front of the Doge’s Palace or on San Marco, for example, it is teeming with tourists every day. If the sun is out, the “ant’s nest” will be even more dense.

“Nobody wants to be like Venice anymore,” the Spanish portal El Confidencial recently wrote in an article about mass tourism becoming problematic. However, the Municipality of Venice hopes to have an effective solution: entrance fees. That is “a measure that you won’t find anywhere else in the world,” says Mayor Luigi Brugnaro.

When the initiative is put into practice, it is not yet certain, but according to Mr Brugnaro it may already be introduced this summer. If that succeeds, then every visitor to Venice must pay three euros (€3) this year.

Next year, that amount must rise to six euros (€6). Depending on the season or an exceptional tourist excess, that amount can be elevated up to eight euros (€8). In between high touristic seasons the entrance falls back to three euros (€3). Those who have booked a hotel in the city do not have to pay the tourist tax, the measure will be applied only to day travelers.

Champagne sales decline

Penalised by a further decline in France and the United Kingdom, champagne sales fell in 2018 to their lowest level since 2004 in the number of bottles shipped from the cellars.

For the first time in a hundred years, volumes sold in France were lower than those sold for export outside the EU.

The decline in volume is becoming a little worrying, the decline in France and the United Kingdom is not offset by the rise of large export;” said Jean-Marie Barillère, co-chairman of the CIVC.

The appellation, which sold 301.9 million bottles last year, a figure down 1.8%, however managed to stabilize its turnover at a record level of 4.9 billion euros ( + 0.3%) reached in 2017, according to figures released March 17 by the Interprofessional Champagne Wine Committee (CIVC).

In France, sales continued their slide in a sluggish economic environment and leaded at the end of the year by the movement of Yellow vests.

 

 

 

Rescue on Nanga Parbat delayed

A group of Russian mountaineers willing to search for two missing climbers, an Italian and a Briton, on Himalayan peak Nanga Parbat have decided to cancel the mission because of the high risk of avalanche. Previously four Russian mountaineers led by Vassily Pivtsov volunteered to start a rescue operation, but weather conditions have changed drastically.

Italian Daniele Nardi and Briton Tom Ballard, who were attempting a rare winter ascent of the world’s ninth highest peak, were last heard from on February 25 at Camp 4.

A plan B offered by Basque climber Alex Txikon, who had made available three special drones that can fly at high altitude, was also abandoned because of an inability of a helicopter trip to the area, sources said later.

AMENDED 1/03/2019 23:35 (GMT+1)

The weather conditions have worsened, there is still high risk of avalanche, so Pivtsov group will not undertake the rescue operation tomorrow”, – the spokesperson Elena Laletina (St.Petersburg, Russia) said to Europe Diplomatic. We know both of them, and worry very much about Tom and Daniele, who has a little baby waiting for his father at home”, she added. However Laletina declined to answer if and when the rescue operation will resume, explaining the volatile weather situation does not allow to make any predictions.

The video of avalanche on Mummery Spur, Nanga Parbat has been posted by the spokesperson of Pivtsov group, Elena Laletina on her page.

Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi last made contact from an altitude of about 6,300m (20,669ft) on Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, February 25.

Nanga Parbat map

Daniele Nardi (42) an Italian mountaineer. He has five eight thousand, 25 mountaineering expeditions active, more open in alpine style, and is famous for being the first mountaineer in history, born “below the Po”, to have climbed Everest and K2, the two highest peaks in the world. He was also the first mountaineer in the world able to climb the Sperone Mummery (6,450 meters) of Nanga Parbat in the middle of winter in February 2013.

Tom Ballard (30) a British climber, first to complete a solo ascendance to all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter. His mother Alison Hargreaves, was the first woman to reach the top of Everest unaided. She perished without trace in 1995 aged 33, while descending from K2 peak in Himalaya.

AMENDED: Bodies of both climbers were found. Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan, confirmed Spanish climber Alex Txikon found the bodies on the Mummery Spur trail

https://mobile.twitter.com/pontecorvoste/status/1104438451397689345

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