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Italian report Italian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-02-13 09:18:20
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Public employees to don nametags

State employees who work with the public will begin wearing name tags next Monday in the latest stage of a government campaign against civil servant slacking and rudeness. The policy is intended to render public employees accountable for their behaviour on the job by making them easier to report when they're rude or unhelpful.

The supervisors of employees who fail to wear their name tags will risk a fine, government sources said. The anti-slacking campaign comes courtesy of Civil Service Minister Renato Brunetta, who says the crackdown has reduced public sector absenteeism by 40%.

However, the policy is widely unpopular with public employees themselves, who launched a major strike in December to protest against it.


Ancient Rome and Valentine’s Day!

Hundreds of Italian couples are opting for an alternative Valentine's Day this year, choosing 'historical' dates exploring Ancient Rome over the traditional restaurants, flowers and chocolates. Pompeii, various archaeological sites in Rome and an exhibition in Turin have all drawn attention ahead of Sunday. Special couples' tickets for visits to the House of the Chaste Lovers, an ongoing excavation site in Pompeii, sold out within a few hours of going on sale.

The 2,000-year-old property, which combines living quarters and a small bakery opening directly on to the street, takes its name from its elaborate interior wall paintings showing lovers during a feast. Since the start of February, visitors to the site have been able to watch archaeologists at work through glass panels but the couples' event, including 2-for-1 tickets and a guided tour, has met with an overwhelming response. The number of visitors admitted for each slot has been increased from 50 to 80 but every ticket for Saturday and Sunday was snapped up the same day they went on sale, said organizers.

In Rome, four separate Valentine's Day events have been laid on for lovers in search of a different experience. The first event is a special tour of a museum that houses a spectacular collection of ancient statues, mosaics, paintings and coins. The event at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme gets under way at 10.30am. At 12.30pm, the Museo delle Terme at the Diocletian Baths will stage an event examining love letters and inscriptions in Ancient Rome. Running the gamut of emotion, the writings will range from declarations of undying devotion on the part of committed spouses to tempting tales of illicit liaisons.

A guided tour of sculpture at 4.30pm in the Palazzo Altemps, part of the National Museum of Rome, will whisk visitors through depictions of wedded bliss and sacrifices in the name of love. This will be followed an hour later, also in Palazzo Altemps, with a lecture by classics professor Eva Cantarella on love and sexuality in Ancient Rome. Meanwhile, Turin has seen a more spontaneous flowering of passion at an exhibition in the Museum of Antiquities looking at the lifestyles of the wealthy in Ancient Rome.

Modern visitors have been following in the footsteps of a Pompeian man from 2,000 years ago, who graphitised a stunning sculpture of Venus with his own declaration of love. The carving by the unknown man on the side of the statue reads: ''Anyone who has seen Venus will realize how my girlfriend dazzles just like her''. A few weeks ago, one visitor jotted his own love note on a post-it, which he attached to a panel on the side of the statue, and since then, dozens more have been added by people passing through. ''It all started spontaneously,'' explained Elena Fontanella, Director of the DNARt Foundation behind the show. ''Many younger couples, teenagers in particular, appear to have been inspired by the beautiful statue and have just decided to express their feelings, even writing poetry''.


Berlusconi’s attacker charged with aggravated assault

The man who hit Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the face with a spiked statuette last December was formally indicted on Friday on charges of premeditated assault of a public official. The Milan court where Massimo Tartaglia, 42, will stand trial in May said his lawyers had 15 days to request a fast-track trial that would allow him with a reduced sentence if he is convicted.

His trial is scheduled to begin on May 7. Attorneys representing him said Friday they would ''need time before deciding what to do''.  Berlusconi suffered a broken nose and two chipped teeth when Tartaglia hurled a souvenir replica of the Milan Cathedral at him after an outdoor political rally in Milan on December 13.

He is currently under arrest in a mental health facility where he was transferred on Monday at the behest of his lawyers, who say he has serious psychiatric problems. Legal experts say Tartaglia's legal team is likely to argue that he was not of sound mind when he attacked the premier.

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