I couldn't decide which of these stories to post today, so I'm posting all of them.
The first is from the AP wire. It's not strictly Venice, but too weird to ignore:
From the AP newswire: "Premier Silvio Berlusconi has promised Italians he would lower taxes and raise pensions. His latest campaign pledge is rather personal: no sex until April 9 elections, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.
"Il Giornale, a conservative Milan daily owned by Paolo Berlusconi, the premier's brother, reported that the no-sex vow was made during a campaign rally in Cagliari, Sardinia, on Saturday with a popular TV preacher on the island and his followers."
Second: What if they gave a Carnival, but didn't have a theme. Venice's famous (in-famous?) Carnival starts on Feb. 18 and runs until the 20th. Even though Carnival brings in lots of tourists (and their money), they don't have anything planned! Acording to Buongiorno Venezia, "'The fact that there is, as yet, no programme just a few days from its opening is an embarrassing fact,' Renato Morandina, the president of APT (Tourism Promotion Agency), said. 'In a normal situation, we'd be ready to programme the 2007 edition.' The last agreements with one of the sponsors are expected to conclude in a few days, just before the start of the festival."
Here's a link to the Carnival of Venice website if you want to follow the lack of progress.
A few years ago, I went to Venice to "experience" a Carnival. I was sorry I went. Too many people. Too many drunks--noisy drunks. Too many over-crowded restaurants serving mediocre food. My Venetian friends warned me not to visit during Carnival--I wish I had listened to their advice.
Finally, more on Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks starring as glassblowers. The movie is going to be called, "The Man Who Invented the Mirror" and it will be directed by an Italian director, Carlo Carlei. Filming is supposed to start in "late spring." I'll be back in Venice in March--maybe I'll be able to spot Brad Pitt!