giovedì 4 gennaio 2007

PROFILE OF ITALY / ITALIAN WAYS OF LIFE / TERMS

OVERVIEW FACTS LEADERS MEDIA


Full name: Italian Republic
Population: 57.2 million (UN, 2005)
Capital: Rome
Area: 301,338 sq km (116,346 sq miles)
Major language: Italian
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 77 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 euro = 100 cents
Main exports: Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, clothes, wine
GNI per capita: US $30,010 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .it
International dialling code: +39


OVERVIEW FACTS LEADERS MEDIA


President: Giorgio Napolitano

Giorgio Napolitano, a former Communist Party member, was sworn in as Italy's 11th post-war president in May 2006.

The Italian president heads the armed forces and has powers to veto legislation, disband parliament and call elections.

Prime minister: Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi began his third term as prime minister of Italy in May 2008, heading a centre-right coalition including his own Forza Italia party.
Three-times premier Silvio Berlusconi

The dominant figure on the right since 1994, when he first moved directly into politics, Mr Berlusconi built a business empire out of construction and media interests in his native Milan.

He is one of Italy's wealthiest men, and owns three of the country's seven television channels and several leading newspapers. He also has interests in banking and insurance, and owns the AC Milan football team.

Mr Berlusconi launched his political career during the corruption inquiries of 1994, which paralysed the established parties.

His brand of populism and can-do image, heavily promoted through his media empire, made his new Forza Italia ("Let's go, Italy!") party the largest in the new parliament, and he headed a fractious right-wing coalition that fell after a few months.

He used the period in opposition to reorganise Forza Italia along more traditional party lines, and won the 2001 elections at the head of a broader centre-right coalition with a commitment to simplify the tax system and halve unemployment. He also aligned Italy more closely with the United States on foreign policy, including support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The government was not able to meet its economic targets, and narrowly lost power in 2006.

His business contacts and media role have led to accusations of conflict of interest, especially over legislation seen as protecting his commercial interests. Mr Berlusconi has been put on trial at least six times over financial matters. Although found guilty on three occasions, he was later acquitted or benefited from the expiry of the statute of limitations.

The press

Corriere della Sera - major daily
La Repubblica - daily, owned by L'Espresso group
Il Messaggero - Rome-based daily
La Stampa - daily, owned by Fiat group
Il Sole 24 Ore - financial daily


Television:

Rai - public, stations include Rai Uno, Rai Due, Rai Tre, rolling news channel Rai News 24 and cable/satellite services
Mediaset - main private TV broadcaster, operates Italia 1, Rete 4 and Canale 5

Radio:

Rai - public, stations include flagship national network Radio 1, entertainment-based Radio 2, cultural station Radio 3 and parliamentary station GR Parlamento
Radio 24 - commercial network, news and business
R101 - commercial network, pop music
Radio Italia - commercial network, Italian pop music

News agency: Ansa



Timeline: Italy
A chronology of key events:

1915 - Italy enters World War I on side of Allies.


Ancient remains jostle with modern buildings in Rome


BBC History: Roman Empire - The Paradox of Power
2004: Rome suffers attacks by new vandals
1919 - Gains Trentino, South Tyrol, and Trieste under peace treaties.

1922 - Fascist leader Mussolini forms government after three years of political and economic unrest.

1926 - Suppression of opposition parties.

1929 - Lateran Treaty creates state of Vatican City.

1935 - Italy invades Ethiopia.

1936 - Mussolini forms axis with Nazi Germany.

1939 - Albania annexed.

1940 - Italy enters World War II on German side. Italian forces occupy British Somaliland in East Africa.

1941 - Italy declares war on USSR.

1943 - Sicily invaded by Allies. King Victor Emmanuel III imprisons Mussolini. Armistice signed with Allies. Italy declares war on Germany.

1944 - Allied armies liberate Rome.

1945 - Mussolini, who had been rescued from prison by Germans, is captured and executed by Italian partisans.


Towards European integration

1946 - Referendum votes for republic to replace monarchy.

BENITO MUSSOLINI

Strong oratory helped to bring Fascist 'Il Duce' to power
Born in 1883
Became dictator in 1922
Shot dead by partisans in 1945


BBC History: World War II - The Italian Campaign
On This Day 1945: Italian partisans execute Mussolini
2002: Mussolini's 'march' on Rome 80 years on

1947 - Italy cedes land and territories under peace treaty.

1948 - New constitution. Christian Democrats win elections.

1951 - Italy joins European Coal and Steel Community.

1955 - Italy joins United Nations.

1957 - Founder member of European Economic Community.

1963 - Italian Socialist Party joins Christian Democrat-led coalition under Prime Minister Aldo Moro.

1972 - Giulio Andreotti becomes prime minister - a post he will hold seven times in 20 years.

1976-78 - Communist election gains lead to voice in policy making.

1978 - Former Prime Minister Aldo Moro kidnapped and murdered by fanatical left-wing group, the Red Brigades. Abortion legalised.

1980 - Bombing of Bologna station kills 84, linked to right-wing extremists.

1983 - Bettino Craxi becomes Italy's first Socialist prime minister since war.

1984 - Roman Catholicism loses status as state religion.

1991 - Communists rename themselves Democratic Party of the Left.


Corruption probe

1992 - Revelations of high level corruption spark several years of arrests and investigations.
Cultural treasures abound in the Tuscan capital, Florence

Top anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards killed in car bomb attack.

1993 - Bribery scandal leads to Craxi's resignation as leader of Socialist Party. He later flees the country, is tried and sentenced in absentia to imprisonment but dies in Tunisia in 2000.

1994 March - Freedom Alliance wins election. The coalition, which includes Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia , Northern League and neo-Fascist National Alliance, collapses by end of year following clashes with anticorruption magistrates and a battle with the trade unions over pension reform.

1995-96 - Lamberto Dini heads government of technocrats. Austerity budget.

1996 - Centre-left Olive Tree alliance wins election. Romano Prodi becomes prime minister.

1997 - Earthquakes strike Umbria region, causing extensive damage to Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. Four killed.


Prodi government loses confidence vote. Massimo D'Alema becomes prime minister.

1999 - Carlo Ciampi becomes president.

2000 April - D'Alema resigns after poor regional election results and is replaced by Giuliano Amato.



Berlusconi comeback

2001 May/June - A centre-right coalition, led by Silvio Berlusconi of the Forza Italia party, wins the general elections.

Berlusconi forms new coalition government which includes the leaders of two right-wing parties, Gianfranco Fini of the National Alliance and Umberto Bossi of the Northern League as well as the pro-European Renato Ruggiero who becomes foreign minister.

2001 Oct - First constitutional referendum since 1946 sees vote in favour of major constitutional change giving greater autonomy to the country's 20 regions in tax, education and environment policies.

2002 Jan - Euro replaces the lira.

Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero resigns in protest at the Eurosceptical views of right-wing cabinet colleagues.

2002 February-March - Controversy as parliament approves bill enabling Berlusconi to keep control of his businesses.

2002 October - Lower house of parliament passes controversial criminal reform bill which critics allege is intended to help PM Berlusconi avoid trial on corruption charges.

Michelangelo's "David" was spruced up for its 500th birthday

2004: Face-to-face with Michelangelo's genius
2003 November - Italy declares national day of mourning after 19 of its servicemen are killed in a suicide bomb attack on their base in southern Iraq.

Multi-billion euro fraud uncovered at Parmalat food-manufacturing giant. The company is declared insolvent.

2004 January - Constitutional Court throws out law granting Mr Berlusconi and other top state post holders immunity from prosecution. Mr Berlusconi's trial resumes in April.

2004 October - Forced expulsion from island of Lampedusa of hundreds of African asylum seekers is criticised by UN.

2004 December - After a four-year trial Prime Minister Berlusconi is cleared of corruption.

2005 March - Italian secret service officer shot dead during operation to free hostage in Iraq.

2005 April - Parliament ratifies EU constitution.
Silvio Berlusconi: Colourful but controversial
Prime minister in 1994 and from 2001-2006

Profile: Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi in his own words

Government coalition collapses after suffering a crushing defeat in regional polls. Berlusconi resigns. Days later, he forms a new government after receiving a presidential mandate.

2005 December - Antonio Fazio resigns as governor of Bank of Italy following a scandal over the sale of Banca Antonveneta. He denies acting improperly.

2006 January - Defence minister says Italian troops will leave Iraq. The mission ends in September 2006.

Prodi election win

2006 April - Centre-left leader Romano Prodi wins closely-fought general elections. He is sworn in as prime minister in May.

Italy's most-wanted man, suspected head of the Sicilian mafia Bernardo Provenzano, is captured by police.

2006 May - Giorgio Napolitano, a former communist, is elected as president.

2006 June - National referendum rejects reforms intended to boost the powers of the prime minister and regions. The changes were proposed during Silvio Berlusconi's premiership.

2006 August - Hundreds of Italian peacekeepers leave for Lebanon. Italy is set to become the biggest contributor to the UN-mandated force.

2007 February - Prime Minister Prodi resigns after the government loses a Senate vote on its foreign policy. The president asks him to stay on and Mr Prodi goes on to win confidence votes in both houses of parliament.


The Italian political system

The politics of Italy take place in a framework of a parliamentary, democratic republic, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by a President, in jargon referred to as "premier", "primo ministro" or "prime minister" in English. Legislative power is vested in the two houses of parliament primarily, and secondarily on the Council of Ministers. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative. Italy has been a democratic republic since 2 June 1946, when the monarchy was abolished by popular referendum. The constitution was promulgated on 1 January 1948.

Government

The 1948 Constitution of Italy established a bicameral legislature (parliament), an executive branch composed of a Council of Ministers (cabinet), headed by the President of the Council (prime minister), and an independent judicial branch headed by the 'Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura'.

Head of State


Giorgio Napolitano was elected President on 10 May 2006.
As the head of state, the President of the Republic represents the unity of the nation and has many of the duties previously given to the king of Italy. The president serves as a point of connection between the three branches of power: he is elected by the lawmakers, he appoints the executive, and is the president of the judiciary. The president is also the commander-in-chief of armed forces.
The President of the Republic is elected by an electoral college consisting of both houses of Parliament and 58 regional representatives for a seven-year term. His election needs a wide majority that is progressively reduced from two-thirds to one-half plus one of the votes as the ballots progress. The only Presidents ever to be elected on the first ballot are Francesco Cossiga and Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. Mr. Ciampi was replaced by Giorgio Napolitano, who was elected on 10 May 2006. While it is not forbidden by law, no president has ever served two terms.
Usually, the President tries to stay out of the political debate, and to be an institutional guarantee for all those involved in the political process. The president can also reject openly anti-constitutional laws by refusing to sign them, since he acts as the guardian of the Constitution of Italy.

Executive

The President of the Republic appoints the Council of Ministers and its President (the prime minister). The prime minister advises the President of the Republic on the composition of the rest of the Council of Ministers (the cabinet), which comprises the ministers in charge of the various governmental departments. In practice, the President accepts prime minister's advice, and submits the proposed Council for a vote of confidence from both parliamentary chambers.
The government has the power to issue decrees. Decrees have to be confirmed in the parliament, and "decree jam" has been a problem in recent years, as governments try to reform the structure of the state using chiefly decrees instead of passing laws directly through the parliament.
The prime minister, through the cabinet, effectively runs the government of Italy. The current Prime Minister is Silvio Berlusconi.

Legislative branch

Italy elects a parliament consisting of two houses, the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati), which has 630 members and the Senate of the Republic (Senato della Repubblica), comprising 315 elected members and a small number of senators for life). As of 15 May 2006, there are seven life senators of whom three are former Presidents. Both houses are elected for a maximum of five years, but they may be dissolved before the expiration of their normal term.
Legislation may originate in either house and must be passed in identical form by a majority in each.

Judicial branch

The Italian judicial system is based on Roman law modified by the Napoleonic code and later statutes. It is based on a mix of the adverserial and inquisitorial civil law systems, although the adversarial system was adopted in the Appeal Courts in 1988. Appeals are treated almost as new trials, and three degrees of trial are present. The third is a legitimating trial.
There is only partial judicial review of legislation in the American sense. Judicial review exists under certain conditions in the Constitutional Court, or Corte Costituzionale, which can reject anti-constitutional laws after scrutiny.
The Constitutional Court is composed of 15 judges one of which is the President of the Italian Constitutional Court elected from the court itself. One third of the judges are appointed by the President of the Italian Republic, one-third are elected by Parliament and one-third are elected by the ordinary and administrative supreme courts. The Constitutional Court passes on the constitutionality of laws, and is a post-World War II innovation. Its powers, case load, and frequency of decisions are not as extensive as those of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Italy has not accepted compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice

Chamber of deputies: 630 members
Senate of the Republic: 350 members
All Italian citizens older than 18 can vote. However, to vote for the senate, the voter must be at least 25 or older.

There are 20 Regions in Italy:

Abruzzo (with capital L'Aquila)Basilicata (Potenza)Calabria (Catanzaro)Campania (Napoli)Emilia-Romagna (Bologna)Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Trieste)Lazio (Roma)Liguria (Genova)Lombardia (Milano)Marche (Ancona)Molise (Campobasso)Piemonte (Torino)Puglia (Bari)Sardegna (Cagliari)Sicilia (Palermo)Trentino-Alto Adige / Südtirol (Trento, Bolzano)Toscana (Firenze)Umbria (Perugia)Valle d'Aosta (Aosta)Veneto (Venezia)

Presently there are 110 Provinces and about 8101 local councils (Comune)

(Wikepedia, Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu)


ITALIAN WAYS OF LIFE

Getting married in Italy:

In order to get married in Italy you and two witnesses must appear before the town clerk and declare your intention to get married. If one or both of you live in Italy then your banns (wedding announcement) must be posted at the town hall for two consecutive Sundays. Four days after the second Sunday the banns are posted you are free to marry. If neither of the couple is Italian or lives in Italy then the posting of banns is not required.

For Non-Italians a civil wedding is highly recommended before having a religious or symbolic ceremony.

For non-Italians wishing a civil marriage in Italy it is highly recommended that they appear before the town registrar at least four days prior to the intended date of the ceremony in order to insure enough time for all documents to be authenticated and the necessary paperwork to be completed.

In general if you are not Italian you will need the following paperwork (please note that the exact papers required vary somewhat depending on your country of residence). You will need to present your passport or you will need an armed forces identification card. You will need a birth certificate that is less than six months old. If this is not your first marriage you will need evidence of the termination of your previous marriage.

You and four witnesses will also need to swear in front of an Italian counselor officer in your own country that under the laws of your jurisdiction you have the legal right to marry. You will also have to go your country’s embassy or counselor office in Italy and swear that you have the right to marry.

Minors under 18 years of age need the written consent of a parent or guardian before they may be married.

All paperwork must be translated into Italian by a certified translator and certain documents must have what is known as a Apostille Stamp from the Secretary of State in the state in which you live. Contact your Secretary of State’s office to find out how to obtain this stamp.

With all the paperwork in place it takes anywhere from three to four days to get permission to marry for a civil ceremony held at a town hall.
(italy-weddings.com)

Other things regarding matrimony in Italy, according to the traditions

In the italian tradition, there's always a long time engagement (between italians), normally officiated in the house of the bride, before proceeding to matrimony.

Traditionally, except in very few cases, during the wedding ceremony both families (bride and groom) has to take care of the restaurant bills of their respective invited guests.

There's always a pre-contract of "common goods" or "separated goods" signed by the couple.

It is not strange at all to see the groom, after the wedding, going to live in the house of the bride.

The wedding presents are not brought to them during the ceremony: normally the couple selects a shop where friends and relatives go to select their presents, mostly to prevent more people from presenting the same things, and ofcourse not to bother them with packages during the ceremony.


Eating in Italy - a sacred rite

Eating in Italy is not just considered as a simple consumption of meals but something quite more than that. It is a rite, a sacred one. It is the moment when members of a family comes together to “celebrate” the day, to give the merited “justice” to their stomach, to tell themselves that they acknowledge the importance of energizing and revitalizing their bodies and to enjoy the symbol of their daily sweat. Hence, it is a solemn time when no one should disturb, time when no one should delay the others from performing this rite. For every particular meal, the chairs at the table are counted to match the number of persons who are going to participate, any uninvited “intruder” is almost considered as a fool, uncivil and coldly received. So, even a son or a daughter who is no more living with the family has to call them to anticipate his or her presence for the meal – this is mostly because the quantity of food to be cooked is always measured and having someone coming to reduce the quantity for the other is simply considered unacceptable and disrespectful. While the time for breakfast is becoming very personalized - when one awakes in the morning - the lunch is normally considered to take place from around hrs 13 to hrs 14, and the supper from around hrs 19:30 to hrs 21. Phone calls made at these times are also considered disrespectful. Traditionally shops and most offices are closed at lunch time (imposed by a norm) to permit people to get back to their homes to eat and perhaps take a little siesta before coming back to work, lately though, more people are staying back to eat light foods at the public places and this norm is no more rigidly applied in some places.
The three major meals in Italy are: breakfast, lunch and supper. But there are two other intervals dedicated to snacks; “merenda” and “spuntino”. For the adults, the Italian breakfast is not as rich or heavy as the Nigerian/African traditional breakfast (with loaf of bread, fried egg, butter, pap or custered with “akara”, ecc,), for the children it is meant or made to be rich, mostly with cereals. Below are some examples of what and how Italians eat:

1) Breakfast

The typical Italian breakfast is made up of “Capucino” and “Cornetto”. The “capucino” is a mixture of coffee and milk with a little foam produced by the milk during the warming process. “Cornetto” is a snack, normally supplied fresh to the bars every morning. For some Italians it is enough to take an ordinary coffee in the morning as breakfast. Most of the working-class Italians take their breakfast at the bars, on their way to their various places of work. It is not just enough to order for a coffee in a bar to get what you want, it is always necessary to specify which and how you want it as there are many ways to consume coffee in Italy:
“Café semplice” (ordinary coffee), “café macchiato” (coffee with small milk), “Capucino” (as explained above), “Café lungo” (diluted coffee – not concentrated), “Café corretto” (coffee with some liquor added to it), “Latte macchiato” (a glass of milk with little coffee to color it), “Café hag” (the African type of coffee – decaffeinated), ecc.

2) Lunch

The traditional lunch in Italy is made up of a minimum of three course meal: “Il primo” (the first course or plate) which is the main food, normally pasta or rice. The second course is termed as “Il secondo”, and that is the meat, fish or cheese. In the Italian cookings, meat is separated from the fish, unlike in most African countries where these two things are mixed together. And then there is the third course, “Il terzo” or “Il contorno”, which in most cases accompanies the second course, and that could be the fresh salad or cooked vegetables. In Italy, It is very important to note that bread plays a vital role during meals and it is meant to accompany mostly the second course, but then even the third course. After this normal meal comes the consumption of fruits and the indispensable coffee. It is often difficult to find “unique course” meal (“piatto unico”), where everything – including the fish or the meat – are all put together in one preparation. Family members do come together at a place (normally at the parent's house) for the lunch on Sundays.

3) Supper

The traditional supper is almost prepared like the traditional lunch and the much importance given to one or to the other is culturally becoming a more personal issue, some people, especially at work, do eat lighter things during the lunch and more during the supper, while some others do it the other way round. Another important course which is not too common these days during the lunch, “Il dolce” (cake), is more consumed at th supper, and this comes up before or during the coffee time.
It is vital to know that the Italians, as part of their eating rite, consumes wine during their meals: the white is normally used to accompany a fish-based meal while the red wine is for the meat.

Other little things to know about eating in Italy: when you invite an Italian for a dinner in your house, it is very normal to see him come with a bottle of wine or cake. And when they invite you, one would presume they expect the same kind of gesture.
When an Italian invites you to a restaurant, it is always advisable to have some money with you because normally they practice “alla Romana” (“the Roman way”), which consists in sharing the bill equal. Some Africans still don't agree with this method especially when their Italian girlfriends demands to pay part of the bill, it is a pride for an African to “settle” such bills alone. It is also important to know that when we say in Africa that the Westerners don't eat too much food, it is that they don't eat too much of one particular thing served on the table, but they eat enough of each course.

N.B: This mediation is always subject to further integration and modification, if and when necessary.

Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu


Religious freedom in Italy

Italy is a prevalently Roman Catholic country, with minorities of Muslims (mostly from recent immigration) and Jews. Christian Protestants are historically few, due to a history of intolerance that has continued until modern times. A few Protestants, such as two-time Prime Minister Sidney Sonnino, have distinguished themselves.The 97.67% of Italians are baptized according to the rite of the Catholic Church. According to a survey of Eurispes 2006, 87.8% of the population declares itself Catholic and 36.8% practitioner. However a large percentage of Catholics do not necessarily support all the directions of the Church, as demonstrated by the referendum about divorce or abortion.In Italy in 2006 there were 53 millions of Christians, 1,210,00 Muslims, 160,000 Buddhists, 115,000 Hinduists, 70,000 Sikhs, 45,000 Hebrews, 15,000 Pagans, and 4 millions of Atheists and Agnostics.The Catholic Church holds considerable power and has an influence on most political parties, with the exceptions of the Italian Radicals and the Communist Refoundation Party.Usage of Catholic symbolism (especially crosses) in courts and schools has been contested by minorities, but was ruled legal; many contend that it is in clear violation of the principles of religious freedom outlined in the Constitution of Italy. It is claimed that the Crucifixes and other Catholic symbols are not considered by the supreme court religious signs but cultural symbols.Articles in the Constitution of Italy about freedom of religion3: All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of [...], religion, [...]8: All religious confessions are equally free before the law.19: All have the right to profess freely their own religious faith in whatever form [...], provided that the rites are not contrary to morality.

(From Wikipedia)


THE ITALIAN SCHOOL SYSTEM

What you Need to Know

The Italian school system is offered free to all children in Italy regardless of nationality. All children are required to attend school from age six through sixteen with the compulsory age limit being raised over the next couple years. Even the public nursery schools are free with reasonable sized classes and motivated teachers. The school system has a good reputation but tends to focus on rote memorization and obedience over creativity.
"Scuola elementare", or primary school, begins at age six and continues for five years. Class sizes generally run about twenty five children per class with a minimum of ten students. "Pluriclassi", or mixed-level classes, have between six and twelve students. Schooling and textbooks are free. Municipalities manage transportation and school meals, most often asking for contributions but making exceptions for needy families. The curriculum includes: Italian, English, Geography, History, Math, Science, Technology, Music, Art, Physical Education, Information Technology and Catholicism.
The next level formerly known as "scuola media" is now known as "scuola secondaria di 1 grado", secondary school level one, where students study until they turn fourteen years old. Formerly at age fourteen, compulsory education was considered complete. This limit has been raised to sixteen and will continue to be raised in increments until the 2007/2008 school year. While the schooling is free, books must be purchased at the secondary level. Class size is about 21 students per class. The curriculum includes: religion, Italian, English, an alternate foreign language, history, geography, science, math, technology, information technology, art, music and physical education.
Students must take and pass an exam before moving up to "scuola secondaria superiore" or "liceo", higher secondary school. Higher secondary school lasts five years until the student is eighteen or nineteen years old. The higher secondary schools are voluntary. Students must make a choice about their education at an early age and choose the higher secondary school they will attend. Each higher secondary school is broken down by subject matter such as:

liceo scientifico (scientific)
liceo classico (classic)
liceo linguistico (language)
istituto magistrale (school for teachers)
istituto tecnico (technical school)
istituto professionale (professional school)

The art schools are further divided into:

liceo artistico (artistic high school)
istituto d'arte (art school)
accademia di danza (dance academy)
conservatorio di musica (conservatory of music)
accademia nazionale d'arte drammatica (national academy of dramatic arts). Once the student has chosen his or her field of study, they are rarely allowed to change their minds.
Class sizes are between twenty five to twenty eight students in higher secondary school. Higher secondary schools do charge tuition. However, based on family income, some students may qualify for exemptions or assistance. Curriculum varies depending on the course of study chosen.

After completing the higher secondary school, students must pass another exam in order to receive their "Diploma di Maturità". Once they have their diplomas, they either begin their careers in their professions or move on to the University.
Italy has forty two state universities, six private universities, three technical universities and twelve specialized university institutes. Each university offers four main courses: "diploma universitario" (university diploma), "Diploma di Laurea" (Bachelor of Arts/Science), "Dottorato di Ricerca" (research doctorate), and "Diploma di Specializzazione" (diploma of specialization).

By Celeste Stewart


Living in Italy: simple rules and regulations........ (part 1)

Transportation

Public transportaion:
in Italy, the public transportation is considerably cheap and affordable considered to other western European countries. It's efficiency is frequently criticized, but one can say that it has been an efficient substitute to private means of transportaion.Tickets must be bought in advance before boarding, unless in some of those buses and trains where tickets could also be bought on board from the available automatic machines or from the conductors. Beware, it is not just enough to have the ticket with you but the ticket must be cancelled or stamped in the appropriate automatic machines to render it valid for the journey. The machines are normally situated inside the train stations, in front of the railways, inside the metro stations, inside the buses, etc. The passenger should comunicate to the driver of the bus or to the assistant (conductor) of the train when the machine is not in order, this officer should validate the ticket with an ordinary pen. Travelling without tickets or cancelled tickets are against the laws and regulations and are punishable by reasonable fines. However, who is caught by a controller without a ticket and without the money to pay for the fine, has the right to give his personal data for the fine to be sent to him at home. Any refusal to do that could make the controller to seek for the intervention of the Police, which is absolutely not advisable. Normally, there are instructions on the tickets on how to use them and for eventual reimbursement when the tickets are not used or when the journey is cancelled or too much delayed.

Private transportaion:
Who desires to own a vehicle in Italy should, first of all, obtain a driving-licence for such vehicle. Some country's driving licences could simply be translated and authenticated at the appropriate offices to render them valid, one has to be informed if his country has this bilateral agreement with Italy. Who buys a vehicle gets a certificate of ownership (cambio di proprietà) with which, together with the vehicle papers, the vehicle is insured. The government tax “bollo” is paid yearly and the amount depends on the capacity of the vehicle. Driving a vehicle in Italy without a driving licence or insurance could lead to an immediate seisure of that vehicle, and a very high fine to pay.Many cities, fighting against polution, have restrictions on private vehicles from entering their historic centers, so one has to be informed about his own city.

Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu




Living in Italy: simple rules, regulations and advises..... (part 2)


Housing

Housing is definitely one of the major and initial problems a foreigner encounters in Italy. In the recent years, to find a house for rent has become a tug-of-war, not only because of the increase in demand but also for the exaggerated prices demanded by the landlords, which becomes even more if the apartment passes through an agency. The agencies normally charges more or less an equivalent of one month of the rent for their commission.
It is, however, advisable for anyone working regularly, that is with “busta paga”, to verify with his Bank or with a trustworthy financial Agency to know if he is ripe or entitled to purchase a house of his own. It is always better to purchase a house, hence the difference to pay for the mortgage is just a little higher than the normal amount for rent. Certainly, one has to be well informed about the tax-rate and if the rate is variable or constant through the years of the mortgage.
For a house on rent: it is very vital that there is a valid contract between the two parties. One has to go through the contract carefully to make sure that the stipulated points are in harmony with the official regulations and that it is not particularly penalizing. Another important issue is to make sure that the contract is registered with the authorities (“Agenzie delle entrate” - the same as - “Guardia di Finanza”), and the fee for the registration is normally divided in two equal parts. Such contract, which should be for four years, is also to be registered every year. A registered contract enables one to make up his necessary documents, for example; resident permit; family reunion, etc. And could also be necessary for an eventual remboursement of some part of the rent from the local council.
Legally, it is forbidden to sub-rent a house, even though any landlord knows how impossible for one person to pay entirely for the house, and so, the presence of another person has always been tolerated by the landlord, as long as there is peace in the house.
It is also very important to register any visitor, whose name is not in the contract, with the Police within 5 days of arrival and obtain the so-called “cessione fabbricato”, failure to do so is against the law. In some houses (condominial), some amenities (lift, heating, etc.) are used in common with the others and so the fees are also shared among all, normally according to the sizes of the apartments.

To be continued.......

Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu




ITALIAN TERMS

Extracomunitario/a:
Cittadino/a di un paese che non fa parte dell'Unione Europea.

A citizen of a country that is not part of the European Comunity.

Permesso di soggiorno:
Un documento rilasciato dal ministero degl interni per risiedere legalmente in Italia.

Foreigners stay permit issued by the ministry of internal affairs.

Carta soggiorno:
Un permesso di soggiorno a tempo indeterminato.

Indefinite stay permit for foreigners

Di colore:
Usato per chi non è di razza bianca, specialmente per i neri.

Used for who is not of white race, especially for blacks.

Clandestino/a:
Chi entra o soggiorna in Italia in modo irregolare, senza documenti.

Who enters or lives in Italy irregularly, without the required documents.

Residenza o certificato di residenza:
Dichiarazione ufficiale di risiedere in un dato indirizzo e città.

Official declaration of residence in a particular city and given address. Certificate of residence.

Domicilio:
Dove una persona attualmente vive, che può essere diversa dalla residenza.

Where someone lives, which may be different from the official residence.

Flusso:
Un decreto legge che da una quota anuale ai cittadini stranieri per entrare e lavorare in Italia.

A decree that gives an annual quota to foreigners from different countries to regularly enter Italy for working purposes.

The "Festival della canzone italiana" (in English: Italian song festival) is a popular Italian song contest running since 1951 and held annually from Teatro Ariston in the city of Sanremo. Usually referred to as "Festival di Sanremo", or outside Italy as Sanremo Music Festival, it was the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest.
For some years (from 1953 to 1971, except for 1956) each song was sung twice by two different interpreters (singer or band), each one using an individual orchestral arrangement to illustrate the meaning of the festival as a composers' competition, not a singers' competition. During this era of the festival, it was custom that one version of the song was performed by a native Italian artist while the other version was performed by an international guest artist. The festival has been used as the way of choosing Italy's Eurovision entry from 1956 to 1966, in 1972 and 1997. The festival has also launched the careers of many very famous Italian singers, most notably Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Mietta, Elisa, Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti
The Festival is broadcast live on TV "Rai Uno" in Eurovision Network since 1955. From 1951 to 1954 it was transmitted only on "radio RAI". In the recent years, it is always held around the month of February, lasting for about one week. Normally there are preselections at different levels by experts and there are two categories of singers: "The big", the experienced, and the "giovani", the new singers.
(wikipedia, Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu)







2 commenti:

Eleonora ha detto...

Ciao Blessing. Sono molto felice di aver visto il tuo blog.E' ammirevole quello che fai per il tuo popolo e tutte le persone bisognose. Spero che il tuo blog sia letto in tutto il mondo.
Your blog is very interesting and beautiful. Thanks

Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu ha detto...

@ Eleonora,
Scusami se ti rispondo in ritardo. Spero che tu stia bene e magari stai divertendo da qualche parte. Grazie per i complimenti, ma credo che sarà ancora meglio se potessi passare più spesso.

Stammi bene e a presto, Blessing