Raggio's activity

Questions Asked

At last, something is moving other than Berlusconi's "jewels"! Or not... see www.

Tue, 02/15/2011 - 07:27

In reply to your request for "more cross-cultural musings", Annec, here is another of my Dad's inventions.

Fri, 05/28/2010 - 05:10

Comments posted

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 05:53

This seems to be a regular occurrence now that houses appear on the internet for sale. A friend went quite a long way down the route of selling a house (for the asking price) to someone who was looking to buy in Italy. However, since my Italian friends wanted me to translate the compromesso into English, they asked me to do it and, unluckily for the so-called buyer, we had just had a spate of bogus house sales in Belgium. Buyers posing as French people, usually serving army officers, would say they were looking for property in Belgium as an investment for their army pensions and would ask for a bank account number upon which to put the deposit for the house. They would then empty the account! So I warned my friend of the distinct possibility that this could be such an arrangement. She told the buyer that she could only accept money from abroad (Nigeria, in fact, it then transpired) if it came via a cheque. Funnily enough, the buyer just melted away! So, it’s not just your house contents they may be interested in but also your bank account contents...

Fri, 02/24/2012 - 05:24

I went to school within the UK system, went to Rome La Sapienza  University, taught in the Italian school system (media  and superiore) for 5 years, my children went to the European school in Brussels studying in the Italian section and so my comments are coloured by all this:

  1. Although you get the impression that the Italian system makes you choose too soon – remember that the English one limits you even further at 16! The subjects you then study are a maximum of 4, while in Italy, regardless of the type of school you decide to study in, the number of subjects is wide. E.g. liceo classico = Italian, Latin, Greek, foreign language, History, Geography, Philosophy, Maths, Physics, Natural Sciences, History of Art, Sports Sciences, religion (or alternative activity); liceo scientifico = the same but with no Greek and more emphasis on the “scientific” subjects; the so-called istituti tecnici  concentrate on the vocational side to include subjects such as business studies, marketing, more language teaching, political economy, law, IT…depending upon which one you decide to go to, but still do Italian, Maths, History, etc;
  2. Where they do fall down quite badly in my view is the lack of sports, music, drama etc – the subjects which make you an all-rounder and which most parents have to arrange for out of school.
  3. I did languages at A-level in the UK – English, French, Italian and Latin. When I went to Rome University to do Languages, it was very clear, very early on that, while I had the DEPTH, my Italian counterparts had the BREADTH; i.e. I had studied authors at A-level: Milton, Keats, Shakespeare etc for English; Molière, Racine, Camus etc for French; Carlo Levi, Goldoni, Foscolo etc for Italian; they had a good general knowledge of e.g. English literature from Beowulf to today (well, the day before yesterday!) but could not really talk about Shakespeare, his works, who influenced him, whom he influenced and so on.
  4. The teaching of languages in Italian schools is still abysmal – my sister still teaches English in the secondary system and comes home tearing her hair out at her first year students…
  5. My experience of the Italian teachers my children had in the European School … let’s just draw a veil over them – HOWEVER, my daughter loved it and is now doing wonders at an English University, my son, on the other hand, had to be taken out and is now at an English boarding school which he loves and where he is doing really well.

As a result, my experience of the two school systems leads me to the conclusion that you must know your own child first and foremost and if you are lucky enough to have a choice go for what suits them. BUT, at the end of it all, I think that any school system will work for your kids – look at what educational systems across the world have produced, good and bad and in all walks of life: Golda Meir, Tony Blair, Giorgio Armani, Barak Obama, Berlusconi, Marconi, Einstein, Nobel, Hitler, Vittorio Gassman, Osama bin Laden,  Mandela... If you want more detailed information on the Italian education system I suggest you consult: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/index_en.php. The information they provide is good and up-to-date.

Thu, 02/16/2012 - 06:47

Berlusconi's government had decided in August 2011 with what was known as the "manovra di Ferragosto" to do away with some of the public holidays which allowed workers to take a "bridge day"; e.g. 1 May (one of the proposed date changes) falls on a Tuesday this year so you could take the Monday as holiday allowing you to have a long week-end. Following a large public outcry, backed by economists, this "manovra" was overturned for 25 April, 1 May and 2 June in September 2011. So far, I haven't seen anything which overturns the overturn!

Answer to: New to the forum
Wed, 02/15/2012 - 05:39

and I hope you'll find the information provided by the forum members helpful. I know I do!!!

Thu, 12/29/2011 - 20:54

http://www.parktofly.it/S_FCO.php http://www.parkandfly.it/ These are the two companies my sister and her husband use when they need to leave their car at Fiumicino. They have used both over the past 4 years and have been happy with both. They paid 7€ a day the week before Christmas when they left the car for 4 days. Apparently, you book and pay online, giving your flight details; then you drive to their carpark where you leave the car (taking your keys with you, so no horror stories about your car being used for the car parkers' holidays!) and they then bus you to the airport proper. When you return, you just phone them when you've picked up your luggage or are ready and 5 minutes later they are waiting for you at a rendez-vous spot. Have a good trip and let me know how it went.

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 06:38

I hope you are not planning to go out into that dangerous snow, are you? Heaven knows what kind of upper-class German colpo d'aria you risk doing THAT!

Fri, 12/16/2011 - 05:10

My sister and husband use one every time they fly from Fiumicino and seem very happy with them. I can't reach her just yet so can't ask her which one she uses - I'll check with her when she gets back to Italy

Thu, 12/15/2011 - 05:33

I have a Sicilian friend who bought a pair of padded jeans in Palermo in the '80s when I'm not sure they even existed in Northern France where I met him! Do they exist these days? Or are they still only available in Sicily?! However, Belgium, where I  live,  is not too bad for hypochondria either: for example they have so many ways of defining what for me is a simple sore throat - tracheite, laryngite, angine,...- that when I go to the doctor with a sore throat we have a geat time trying to identify what it is I'm suffering from "Tracheite?" he asks? "Mal à la gorge", I reply. "Angine?" "Mal à la gorge". "Laryngite?" "Mal à la gorge". "Pharyngite?"  "Mal à la gorge" "Rhinophyrangite?" "Mal à la gorge - just take a look PLEASE!"

Wed, 12/14/2011 - 05:09

I will never forget hearing, to my GREAT astonishment, my aunt telling her 8-year old son not to run around in the middle of the summer otherwise he would break into a sweat (non correre che sudi!). Now, having just arrived in Italy for a holiday from Africa where we lived, we were used to being all sweaty - it went with the territory - and my mother (whose sister my aunt was) had NEVER told us not to sweat, indeed, we always thought that it was natural, a little like being dirty at the end of a long hard day at play. By the way, getting dirty was also frowned upon - it meant allowing house-room for germs! When I asked my mum why Giantoni couldn't sweat, she replied, hiding a grin behind her hand it must be said, that if he sweated he would then cool down and get a ...wait for it...colpo d'aria with great danger to his "delicate" frame (Giantoni was a large, overweight child whose delicate constitution had escaped me up until that moment). I am in total sympathy with the writer of the article because all my Italian relations can also tell me where their livers are, where their kidneys are and indeed, while I have a tummy ache, they can distinguish between at least 5 types of tummy pain: mal di pancia, dolore al basso ventre, indigestione, and others I cannot remember!

Answer to: Dave and Carol
Wed, 12/07/2011 - 04:41

I remember Carol and Dave from the "old" forum and would like to express my condoloences too to Carol. It must be a very difficult time for her and I am really glad to note that she is surrounded by friends who are helping her through it.