martedì 7 ottobre 2008
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 and regulations (part 2)
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 to him. 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 it is for only one person to pay entirely for the rent, and so, the presence of another person has always been tolerated by the landlords, as long as there is peace in the house.
It is also very important to register any visitor or another person sharing the house together, 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
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)
Religeous 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 religion
3: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Pubblicato da Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu a martedì, ottobre 07, 2008