Wanted in Rome » News http://www.wantedinrome.com Accommodation in Rome, jobs vacant Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:04:09 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.6 Mayor to reshuffle Rome city cabinet http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/mayor-to-reshuffle-rome-city-cabinet/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/mayor-to-reshuffle-rome-city-cabinet/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:45:07 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201538 Mayor loses another key councillor.

Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino has announced a reshuffle of the city’s cabinet whose new line-up will be revealed on Tuesday 28 July.

The news comes as Marino’s dwindling administration lost another key member – the councillor in charge of the city’s budget, Silvia Scozzese – whose resignation on 25 July was widely anticipated.

Since Marino took office more than two years ago he has lost eight of his team, including his deputy mayor Luigi Nieri.

Some have left office due to being allegedly implicated in the ongoing Mafia Capitale scandal involving a criminal syndicated operating within city hall.

The capital’s commerce and tourism councillor Marta Leonori has been identified by Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica as a possible successor to Nieri as Marino’s deputy.

The reshuffle by the embattled mayor follows a warning from Italy’s premier Matteo Renzi who said Marino should either prove himself fit to govern or else “go home.”

Marino has also sacked the top managers of the capital’s public transport company ATAC and promises to find €200 million of new investment for the troubled network.

Marino announced that the city is seeking an industrial partner “while maintaining a majority public stake” in the transport company – a decision made in collaboration with ATAC and the governor of the Lazio region, Nicola Zingaretti.

The reforms follow weeks of disruptions and delays across the system, with metro drivers staging a go-slow in opposition to clocking in at the beginning and end of their shifts.

ATAC is Italy’s largest public transport firm but has suffered from years of mismanagement, insufficient investment, allegations of corruption and regular strikes.

Outlining the need for increased productivity, Marino has in the past highlighted the transport system in Milan where metro drivers work 1,200 hours per year, compared to the 730 hours worked by their colleagues in Rome.

 

 

 

 

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Commuter chaos on Rome’s Metro B http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/commuter-chaos-on-romes-metro-b/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/commuter-chaos-on-romes-metro-b/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:42:08 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201465 Passengers endure frequent delays and train breakdowns.

Commuters on Rome’s Metro B have faced long delays, over-crowding and malfunctioning trains in recent days, with conditions reportedly worse than usual.

The latest incident on the B line occurred at around 09.00 on Friday 24 July when a train stopped for 20 minutes at the S. Paolo station after a passenger became ill, leading to dirsuption along the entire route.

At 19.00 the evening before a train broke down for two hours at the Tiburtina station on the B line, due to a problem with its doors not closing. The passengers refused to leave the train and instead hurled abuse at the driver who barricaded himself in his cabin until police arrived.

On 22 July a Metro B train travelled between Termini and Castro Pretorio with its doors open. Rome’s public transport company ATAC has launched an investigation into the event, which was captured on video.

In recent weeks there have been lengthy delays on both Metro A and B lines, as well as the Piramide to Ostia Lido service, due to a go-slow triggered by train drivers’ opposition to clocking in at the beginning and end of their shifts.

On 9 July a four-year-old boy died after falling down an empty lift shaft at the Furio Camillo station, on the Metro A line, after passengers got trapped inside a malfunctioning lift.

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Renzi issues ultimatum to Rome mayor http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/renzi-issues-ultimatum-to-rome-mayor/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/renzi-issues-ultimatum-to-rome-mayor/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 09:21:22 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201454 Marino told to govern or “go home”.

Italian premier Matteo Renzi has said the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino should concentrate on “concrete issues” such as “health and people’s problems” – not “strange political games” – and that if he is incapable of governing he should “go home.”

Renzi’s ultimatum to the embattled mayor and fellow member of his centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) party was made on Italian television on 23 July and comes as the capital continues to make international news for all the wrong reasons.

The latest damning story was published by The New York Times, appearing on the front page of its international version, under the headline “Romans Put Little Faith in Mayor as Their Ancient City Degrades.”

The article outlines Marino’s “decent” and “honest” credentials but states that many in Rome find him too “weak” and “naïve” to deal with the problems facing the capital, particularly the Mafia Capitale scandal and the degradation of city services.

In mid-June a defiant Marino, a well-known transplant surgeon and one-time senator, insisted that he intended to see out his current five-year term of office, which ends in 2018, before standing for re-election until 2023.

However since then he has lost many key personnel, including his deputy Luigi Nieri who stood down on 14 July, and is having difficulty replacing them. Marino has also become increasingly isolated by senior members of his own party.

Local media has reported PD sources saying that Renzi has little faith in Marino’s capacity to steer the capital through the challenges represented by the upcoming Jubilee Year, which starts on 8 December, and its estimated 33 million pilgrims.

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Alitalia strike on 24 July http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/alitalia-strike-on-24-july/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/alitalia-strike-on-24-july/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 14:27:40 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201441 Company criticises trade union for 24-hour strike.

Alitalia employees are holding a 24-hour strike on Friday 24 July over claims that the company has not provided adequate guarantees for the security of around 1,000 jobs after their contracts expire next February.

Alitalia has slammed the strike action, saying the issues in question have already been resolved with trade unions representing pilots, flight attendants and ground crew.

The company has cancelled about 15 per cent of its short- and medium-range flights on 24 July, describing the cancellations as “disrespectful” to passengers and colleagues. It also criticised the timing of the strike which occurs “just when Fiumicino is trying to return to normality” following the reopening of Terminal 3 after its two-month partial closure over the fire in May.

The strike affects Alitalia and its regional subsidiary Cityliner but excludes the airports of Bari, Brindisi and Genoa. The strike will not affect flights to North or South America, or the Far East.

Alitalia advises all its passengers scheduled to fly on 24 July to check their flight status before travelling to the airport.

In late 2014 Alitalia was saved from bankruptcy after Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways made a €1.76 billion investment to acquire a 49 per cent in the struggling Italian company.

See related article.

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Rome Jubilee could attract 33 million pilgrims http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-jubilee-could-attract-33-million-pilgrims/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/rome-jubilee-could-attract-33-million-pilgrims/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:11:06 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201425 Report estimates €8 billion boost to economy.

As many as 33 million pilgrims are expected to visit Rome during the Jubilee year between 8 December and 20 November 2016, according to a report by Censis (Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali).

The Italian socio-economic research institute predicted a major increase on the 25 million pilgrims and tourists that flocked to Rome during the Jubilee year in 2000.

The report said that the crowds of pilgrims would generate an estimated €8 billion for the capital, and that about 70 per cent of the visitors would come from abroad.

Authorities from the capital and the Lazio region are expected to pool resources to deal with the influx, with priorities given to health, mobility, security, civil protection, tourism and hospitality.

See related article.

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More swimmers in Rome’s Bernini fountain http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/more-swimmers-in-romes-bernini-fountain/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/more-swimmers-in-romes-bernini-fountain/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:18:43 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201418 Latest incident of illicit bathing at Baroque monument.

Two Italian men were spotted bathing in Bernini’s 17th-century Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona in the early hours of 23 July.

 

swimmers
Photo Lohrie Alaras

 

The photograph was taken by Lohrie Alaras from Rome, who told Wanted in Rome that — judging by the men’s accents — they appeared to be Roman. No photographs exist of the men swimming but if the information provided to us is correct then their actions should have been detected by the closed circuit television cameras which monitor the square.

This is the latest in a series of similar recent incidents, the most infamous of which was recorded by Victoria Wyatt and first reported by Wanted in Rome, before being picked up by numerous Italian and international newspapers, as well as local politicians.

 

Photo Victoria Wyatt
Photo Victoria Wyatt

 

That incident involved three American tourists — two men and one woman — who swam around the same Baroque fountain for 20 minutes at 03.00 on 13 July, without being arrested.

 

Photo Victoria Wyatt
Photo Victoria Wyatt

 

The fountain was damaged in May 2013 after a group of 20 foreign students jumped off the ancient monument. Closed circuit television footage showed one girl climbing along the fragile tail of the dragon. The group escaped on foot as the police arrived.

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Living la dolce vita http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/living-la-dolce-vita/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/living-la-dolce-vita/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 07:43:00 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201295 Residency and citizenship for non-Europeans in Italy.

Whether seeking the sites, culture and flavours of Italy or broadening working and business opportunities, approximately one and a half million foreigners enter Italy via various airports every month.

Non-European Union citizens planning to come to Italy for short visits, business, tourism or study for a period not exceeding three months require a short-term entry visa, but are not required to apply for a residence permit. All visas are applied for at the Italian consulate in your country of origin. If you are planning to visit multiple destinations, apply for a short-term Schengen visa from the consulate of the country in which you plan to enter Europe. People entering on a tourism visa are not allowed to take up any form of employment during their three-month stay.

Short-term visas are divided into the following categories:

Tourism visa. This is valid for 90 days and allows you to enter Italy and travel through other EU countries (Schengen Zone) purely for tourism. You may not enter into any business transactions or take on any form of employment. You need proof of a return ticket and of accommodation, plus a letter from your bank stating you have sufficient funds to cover the trip.

Short-term business visa. This is valid for 90 days and allows you to conduct business meetings and enter into business contracts during the stay. You need proof of a return ticket, accommodation, funds and a letter from one or more Italian business you will be meeting with during the stay.

Short-term working visa. This is valid for 90 days and allows you to enter into work contracts which do not exceed 90 days. You need proof of a return ticket, accommodation, funds and a work contract from the company you will be working for, specifying the start and finish date of the work to be carried out.

People staying in Italy for more than three months are considered residents. This includes people who will work or transact business, students who wish to undertake a course in Italy, and persons who simply want to live in Italy.

Study visa. This is a separate category of visa allowing foreigners to enter Italy for study purposes. These visas are issued for one year and are renewable year on year. This visa does not permit students to work during their stay. Students must already be registered with the school, college or university where they intend to study and proof of registration and the means to pay fees and board and lodging must be submitted with the application. The educational institution must also provide a letter in which it undertakes to inform the authorities if the student decides to discontinue studies during the period for which the visa is issued.

 

It is important to know the exact paperwork required to avoid problems with Italian bureaucracy.
It is important to know the exact paperwork required to avoid problems with Italian bureaucracy.

 

The following categories of visa may be obtained from an Italian consulate before coming to Italy:

Up to six months for seasonal work or up to nine months for seasonal work in certain specific sectors requiring this extension.
Up to one year for a duly documented course of study or a vocational training course.
Up to two years for self-employment, open-ended employment and family reunification.

For long term visas the requirements are as follows:

Self employment. You must submit proof of qualifications in the field in which you wish to operate and proof of your income for the three years prior to your visa request.

Open-ended employment. The company or business for which you will be working must provide a contract that stipulates you will be employed by them on a full-time basis and the terms and conditions of your employment and related remuneration.

Family reunification. You have to provide proof of family ties and the family in Italy has to provide proof that you will reside with them and that they have the financial means to sponsor you.

Applying for these types of visa can take several weeks to complete, so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date. On arrival in Italy, you must obtain a permesso di soggiorno. If it is your first time in Italy, you have eight days to apply. To obtain a residence permit you need:

The application form, which you can obtain at your local post office (see below).
Your valid passport or other equivalent travel document bearing an entry visa.
A photocopy of your passport or other valid travel document bearing an entry visa.
Four recent, passport-size photographs.
A €16 marca da bollo electronic revenue stamp (available at most tobacconists).
Documents supporting your request for the type of permit for which you are applying.
Depending on the category (working or non-working) and length of stay, the cost for a permit ranges between €80 and €200.

Applications may be submitted at the polizia dello stato or an application “kit” for the permesso di soggiorno may be requested from the local post office.The kit must then be returned to a designated post office which will process your request on your behalf at the cost of €30. It is important that the applicant keep a copy of the receipt issued by the post office. Within 20 days of receiving the permesso di soggiorno, the applicant must go to the ufficio anagrafe (registry office) at the comune (municipal offices) in which you wish to reside to obtain a certificato di residenza (residence certificate). The permesso di soggiorno is issued at the local police station (questura) but you must register with your comune as being a local resident.

 

Rome's main questura, or police station, on Via di S. Vitale off Via Nazionale.
Rome’s main questura, or police station, on Via di S. Vitale off Via Nazionale.

 

Over and above obtaining residence, under Italian law, all non-EU citizens who request an Italian permesso di soggiorno for more than 12 months are required to sign an accordo di integrazione (integration agreement) either at the local prefecture (sportello unico per l’immigrazione) or at the polizia dello stato police station. By signing this, residents agree to achieve specific integration goals such as acquiring an adequate knowledge of the Italian language and of the Italian civil structure and culture. They need to accumulate a total of 30 credits. Simply by signing the agreement they will secure the first 16 points. The remaining 14 points must be earned over the next two years by taking classes or passing a test in Italian. Refusal to sign this agreement may affect any applications for the renewal of your permesso di soggiorno in the future.

Foreign citizens resident in Italy with a valid permesso di soggiorno have the same right as Italians to health care provided by the national health system, and are required to register with their local health department or azienda sanitaria locale (ASL).

At the end of your stay in Italy remember to cancel your residency at the comune of residence. It is important for tax, social security and pension reasons to be able to show when you have given up your residency in Italy.

Italian citizenship

Citizenship is based on the principle of jus sanguini blood relations and is normally granted if at least one of your parents is an Italian citizen. However, citizenship can be applied for also in the following instances:

If a non-EU citizen marries an Italian they may apply for citizenship after 24 months of residence and marriage. If the marriage results in the birth of children this period is reduced to 12 months.
Non-EU citizens qualify to apply for Italian citizenship if they have any Italian blood relations, for example grandparents, aunts or uncles, after three years of continuous residency in Italy.
Any other non-EU citizen can claim citizenship after 10 years of residency in Italy.

All applications for citizenship are made through the local prefecture, and your local comune can assist you with the required documentation.

Studio Annino

Readers are welcome to send suggestions for future topics in this series either to editorial@wantedinrome.com or directly to avv.annino@libero.it.

Studio Legale Annino, tel. 0696153083, www.annino-lawfirm.com.

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Top 10 beaches near Rome http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/top-10-beaches-near-rome/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/top-10-beaches-near-rome/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:17:57 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201400 For all you beach-lovers here is a selection of resorts within easy reach of Rome. Each one, ordered from north to south, offers either stabilimenti (private beaches with entrance fees and changing facilities and refreshments) or spiaggia libera (free beach with the option to rent a lounge chair and/or umbrella), and all have children’s facilities. We have indicated how to get there by public transport, as all these towns suffer from heavy traffic during the summer.

S. Marinella
The northern-most beach on our list offers a small strip of white sandy beach with the choice of setting up camp at either the stabilimenti or spiaggia libera. There are two trains per hour leaving from Termini station for S. Marinella station and the journey takes about one hour. Popular with wind-surfers.

 

santa marinella

 

S. Severa
Located about 50 km north of Rome and less than 10 km south of S. Marinella. Take one of the regular Civitavecchia trains from Rome and the beach is a ten-minute walk from the station. There are numerous stabilimenti, restaurants and spaggia libera and it is also known for the Italia Surf Expo which takes place every July.

 

View of Castel of Pyrgi, Santa Severa - Italy

 

Fregene
A former chic hotspot of the 1960s and 1970s, Fregene boasts long stretches of sand with both stabilimenti and spiaggia libera. Along the coast there is also a wide selection of family-oriented restaurants and less expensive tavole calde. Rome’s club scene tends to flock to Fregene and nearby Ostia (see below) in the summer months. Although Fregene isn’t the easiest place to reach by public transport, Cotral buses depart from Rome’s Valle Aurelia metro stop (line A) and the journey takes about one hour.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Ostia/Cancelli
Ostia and the Cancelli (gates) are along the coast nearest Rome. Ostia is loaded with often pricey and trendy stabilimenti, while the Cancelli offer free beaches equipped with restaurants and bathrooms. Public transport takes less than an hour and you can use the same metro/bus tickets for public transport in Rome. Take the 070 express bus from EUR, or the Roma-Lido train from Porta S. Paolo beside the Piramide metro station (line B). To reach the Cancelli get off at the last stop and take the 07 MARE bus until you reach the gates numbered 1, 2, 3 etc.

 

CALDO: ASSAGGIO D'ESTATE SU LITORALE ROMA, GIA' PRIMI TUFFI

 

Anzio/Nettuno
These beaches are only ten minutes apart and are easily reached from Rome. One train per hour leaves from Termini station, stopping first at Anzio and then at Nettuno. The journey takes 60-70 minutes and the beaches are about a 10-minute walk from the respective train stations. Anzio has the Blue Flag status given to beaches that meet the international quality standards for cleanliness both on the beach and in the water.

 

Anzio

 

 

Sabaudia
Famous for its beauty and spaciousness, this stretch of beach is another Blue Flag area. Although predominantly spiaggia libera, there are a few stabilimenti to choose from. Cotral buses run from Rome’s Laurentina metro stop (line B) to Piazza Oberdan in Sabaudia. From here take the shuttle bus which runs up and down the local coastline. Sabaudia is also known for its Mussolini-era architecture.

 

sabaudia

 

S. Felice Circeo
Nearly 100 km south of Rome are the Blue Flag beaches and crystal clear waters of Circeo. Stabilimenti abound but look for the spiaggia libera nearest the port: it definitely merits the mini-trek. Cotral buses leave for Circeo from the Laurentina metro station in Rome. Get off at the last stop and walk for ten minutes until you reach the beach.

 

circeo

 

Terracina
Located just 10 km south of Circeo. From Termini station take the hourly regional train for Naples and get off at Monte S. Biagio. From there, take the bus for about 20 minutes until you reach the beach. Terracina has as many spiagge libere as stabilimenti and both are well-kept and clean, making it a popular destination for families.

 

WCENTER 0WLIACTGCE  -  ( Agenzia Pirazzi - TERRACINA10.jpg )

 

Sperlonga
The stabilimenti dominate this gorgeous getaway with picturesque views and Blue Flag status, leaving only narrow strips for the spiaggia libera. Take the regional train headed to Naples from Termini station and get off at Fondi-Sperlonga. Once there, take the Piazzoli bus for 20 minutes to Sperlonga, alternatively take a private taxi but be warned they are far more expensive than the €1.50 bus ticket.

 

sperlonga

 

Gaeta
This Blue Flag area has a quaint mediaeval town to explore and clean beaches. From Termini station take one of the frequent trains headed towards Naples, get off at Formia and take the bus for another 25 minutes until you reach Gaeta.

 

gaeta

 

For more information about transportation consult the Cotral and Trenitalia websites. 

 

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The Man with the Golden Needles http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/the-man-with-the-golden-needles/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/the-man-with-the-golden-needles/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 07:00:48 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201284 For hundreds of years, a small village in a remote corner of Umbria produced many of Europe’s most celebrated doctors and surgeons.

The village of Preci lies at the northern end of the Monte Sibillini Park in Umbria. Perched among rolling hills, sweeping pastures and scatterings of small farms, it seems the unlikeliest place in the world to have spawned a school of celebrated surgeons whose skills were virtually unrivalled in Europe for almost five centuries.

Preci is one of Italy’s many secrets, like the works of Renaissance masters in remote and crumbling country churches, the ruins of forgotten ancient cities hidden under fields and the countless small museums full of unexpected treasures tucked away in tiny hamlets. The paved streets of the village are lined with handsome public buildings and town houses that obviously belonged to families of means, all carefully restored after the damage suffered in the Assisi earthquake of 1997. The air of quiet prosperity in this remote country hamlet is very striking. Little Preci, in fact, was a wealthy place between the 14th and 18th centuries. Her doctors were so famous that they were summoned to all the royal courts of Europe to treat reigning monarchs and nobles and they were richly compensated for their services. Many of them invested in grand family homes in their place of origin.

One of the most illustrious patients in the 16th century was Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England. Elizabeth was in her 50s and she was going blind; cataracts had formed in both her eyes and no eye doctor in Britain at the time was able to undertake the delicate and risky operation of removing them. The queen’s advisors therefore sent urgently to Italy to summon the leading expert in the field – Durante Scacchi of Preci, who was famed all over Europe for his expertise. Durante, however, was not available at the time. He was at Rome attending Pope Sixtus V. So he sent his young brother and pupil Cesare instead. Cesare was 33 at the time and must have felt some trepidation as he travelled to London to examine his illustrious patient.

 

The medical instruments used by Preci’s celebrated surgeons.

 

The technique employed is minutely described in the small but comprehensive Museum of Surgery next to Preci town hall. During the days leading up to the operation, patient was bled and they fasted, drinking abundant water. Cool nerves and great manual skill were required because the surgeon, seated in front of his patient, operated first on the left eye with his right hand and then on the right eye with his other hand, while an assistant blocked the patient’s head. His hand rock-steady, Cesare carefully introduced his golden needle into the queen’s eyeball and eased off the cloudy film that had formed over the lens of the monarch’s eyes. Afterwards, Elisabeth’s eyelids were covered with healing poultices of herbs mixed with chicken livers while she rested for nine days in a dark room till her eyes were healed.

The operation was a complete success and the delighted sovereign rewarded her Italian surgeon with a thousand gold scudi and many other gifts. The incident is documented in letters exchanged between Durante and Cesare in 1590, as recorded by local researcher Gianfranco Cruciani, who investigated medical manuals, treatises and reports by Preci doctors, preserved in science museums and university faculty libraries throughout the world.

The Preciani surgeons, however, had many other specialities. They removed polyps and gall and bladder stones. They cured inguinal hernias and hare lips, as well as blocked tear ducts and urinary passages. They were also considered to be the best in Italy at performing castrations. These were undertaken sometimes for medical reasons, but more often to preserve a boy’s “white voice” so that he could make a career as a singer. The castrati were much in demand, not least in the Sistine Choir, where the pope had prohibited the participation of female sopranos.

The museum display cases contain examples of the instruments used, such as fine-bladed knives, spoon-shaped probes, pincers, clamps and forceps, as well as a range of needles. Many look uncannily modern. The surgeons themselves perfected and developed their tools. Their high success rate depended also on the fact that, in an age where scarce attention was paid to hygiene, they used clean instruments, explained Preci mayor, Pietro Bellini, who showed us around. They also introduced the use of a cauterizing razor that stopped haemorrhaging and they prepared herbal mixtures that helped wounds heal faster.

 

Mayor Pietro Bellini is happy to show visitors around the Museum of Surgery.
Mayor Pietro Bellini is happy to show visitors around the Museum of Surgery.

 

The skills were passed down from father to son. A map of Europe on one wall charts the major cities where generations of doctors linked to local families took their arts of healing. Preci and neighbouring Norcia produced some 30 dynasties that dominated the medical scene of the western world for several centuries.

But how did this tradition originate? History dates it to the fifth century AD, when a little group of refugee monks from Syria arrived in the surrounding Castoriana valley and settled in caves in the hillside. Their leader was the elderly St Spes who, it is said, was blind but was successfully cured by the brothers. Spes’ successor was St Eutizio, who gave his name to the monastery that was subsequently built on the spot. The community was already well known when St Benedict was born in nearby Norcia in 480 AD. The monks were knowledgeable in the healing properties of plants and it is believed that Benedict was inspired by them to incorporate the cultivation of medicinal herbs in the new Benedictine order that he founded.

 

The abbey of St Eutizio.
The abbey of St Eutizio.

 

For several centuries, the monks of St Eutizio ran an acclaimed centre of healing and perfected their surgical techniques. However, at the Lateran Council of 1215 the Church forbade all clerics to treat patients with either “fire or cuts”, thus putting an end to the monks’ activities. “However,” Bellini explained, “they were reluctant to let their knowledge and experience die, so they began to train their parishioners. As these were mainly pig farmers, they learned quickly, since the pig’s anatomy is notoriously similar to that of humans.”

The abbey of St Eutizio can still be visited. It has changed little since its last restoration in 1236 – a typical example of a fortified mediaeval monastic complex, set in a secluded and unspoiled valley just a few miles from Preci. Father Vincenzo is happy to welcome visitors and show them the old pharmacy and the small collection of surgical instruments within.

Margaret Stenhouse

 

The courtyard of St Eutizio abbey.
The courtyard of St Eutizio abbey.

 

SIDE NOTES

Preci is now a small Umbrian village about 60 km southeast of Perugia in the beautiful Valnerina and within easy driving distance of both Spoleto and Norcia. It was founded in the 12th century and was then almost completely destroyed and rebuilt following a devastating earthquake in 1328. More recently it was affected by the 1997 earthquake that badly damaged Assisi and other parts of Umbria. In addition to its surgeon’s museum, the abbey of St Eutizio and the surrounding Monte Sibillini park, one of the village’s main sites is the 13th-century church of Pieve di S. Maria and its Gothic-style entrance. In the 1920s Preci had over 3,000 inhabitants but now there are only about 800. The principal industries in the village are tourism and agriculture, but the handcraft sector also contributes to the economy. There are several other villages in the Preci region, including Castelsantangelo sul Nera, Cerreto di Spoleto, Norcia, and Visso.

Museo della Scuola Chirurgica. Mon-Fri 8.00-14.00. Tues and Thurs 15.00-18.00, tel. 074393781 (Preci town council office number), www.comune.preci.pg.it.

Abbazia di S. Eutizio. Don Giovanni Vincenzo Sanna, tel. 074399659.

Where to stay

The Hotel Scacchi in Preci, is situated in the 17th-century house of the famous Scacchi family. Albergo Agli Scacchi, tel. 074399221, www.hotelagliscacchi.it.

Accommodation is also available in the St Eutizio monastery, www.abbaziasanteutizio.it.

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Appia Antica: Suburban Oasis http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/the-world-of-the-appia-antica/ http://www.wantedinrome.com/news/the-world-of-the-appia-antica/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:51:09 +0000 http://www.wantedworldwide.net/?post_type=news&p=201250 Living along the Appia Antica can have its drawbacks but once inside The Compound, the rest of the world melts away.

People walk along the Appia Antica as tourists, soaking up step by step the layered history of the cobblestones, partaking in a pilgrimage along one of the first, most strategic roads of the ancient Roman republic. They peek through the high gates of the villas, wondering who lives in these great mansions with long, winding driveways, hidden behind pristine gardens and stone walls.

When I was given the chance to live on the inside of the gate, I knew how lucky I was. Far as it is from any metro stop, and not having a car, didn’t matter. There I became the neighbour of Valentino. I entered a world where phone calls to Gina Lollobrigida, a former sex symbol and high-profile actress of the 50s and 60s, are made twice a year: once on her birthday and once on New Year’s Eve, to explain that her grandiose fireworks are a fire-hazard to the garden and scare the ponies. She has the neighbouring garden, where she keeps peacocks that on summer days squawk you into thinking you’re in Sri Lanka. Some tourists ride a bike to see the Appia Antica; I lived there and took the bus.

There is a stop on the Metro A at Arco di Travertino. If you ever find yourself there, there’s a great kebab place called Ali Baba. It’s next to another kebab place that I would not recommend. There is also a newly renovated bus terminal that I watched go up over the year I spent waiting for the 765 to take me home to the Appia Antica. (Just to be clear, because I realise that in Rome a year might pass without the bus arriving, I didn’t spend a year waiting for one bus. I spent a year commuting to and from a villa called The Compound, owned by old family friends.)

 

bus appia
The 765 is an elusive but vital connection between the Appia Antica and the city.

 

You might ask yourself why someone, especially a 28-year-old from Los Angeles who works in the historic centre, who might be better living near a metro stop, would subject herself to this daily torture of public transportation. In a city notorious for strikes, and where a third, much-needed, metro line has taken 30 years to construct, relying on buses is shocking to a Roman. Going out at night takes planning. Talking people into picking you up often comes to no avail. The area is generally unknown to taxi drivers, and when you say it’s near the Appia Antica, a certain concern for their car tires spreads across their face. There is also the frustration of having to stand, squashed against a window, under the armpits of an entire tour group of French teenagers that gets on the bus at the catacombs. To your question I can only answer that The Compound is an oasis.

We all seek an escape, hoping it can be bought on an island in Greece or a week in Costa Rica. But the truth we are searching for, in stopping and slowing down, as it turns out, does not lie in a vacation home. For me, the escape I was searching for truly has shaped me. I found it hidden in the middle of a city, isolated ‒ everyone who lives there knows to stand next to a certain tree for mobile phone reception ‒ and connected to the outside world by only the one bus that would become my lifeline.

Once, when my sister was visiting, we spent a challenging day combating a public transport strike. On our journey home after a long day, we missed our stop at Arco di Travertino. We were on a bus I had never taken before, and I assumed, quite wrongly, that it would stop at our bus stop. My sister had even asked if we should ring the button. In my confidence, I said: “No, no someone will be there getting on, and it will stop.” As the bus zoomed past Arco di Travertino, we both panicked. Oh great, it’s an express! Next stop, Numidio Quadrato. In sciopero traffic. In my disdain, I insisted we walk home from Numidio Quadrato. No way was I getting on the metro to go back to Arco di Travertino just to wait for another bus that might never come. So we found ourselves, exhausted and with sore feet, racing along Via del Quadraro to get back before dark. We trudged in single file under the aqueducts at sunset. We marvelled at their size, the sun fading behind them. Where else in the world is that your walk home?

 

5
Although it can feel isolated, living on the Appia Antica has its benefits. All photos by Leon Perez.

 

When you unlock the high green gate of The Compound, watched by the tired eyes of Romans stuck in rush-hour traffic, and hear the crunch of gravel under your shoes, the frustration from the beggars on the metro and the vibrations of the bad shocks on the bus melt away. The air is cooler and fresher than in the city. Your tired legs suddenly feel lighter, and you walk quickly to the house to see who is working on what project: upholstering furniture, making kitchen shelves, baking a crostata.

The Compound gleaned its name from the fact that many people live there, and many more come and go. There is the Ikebana master who tends the roses and fills the garden with beautiful sculptures made in her on-site ceramics studio. Her husband is a documentary film maker Their daughter, a few years older than me, works as an artist, and introduced me to a world in Rome I never would have found on my own, including Venanzio and the iPhone clinic. Her scuba-diving boyfriend, with a passion for building motorcycles, told me stories about breaking into the Colosseum at night. This family took me in, The Compound acting as a bridge between generations and cultures.

My father lived here too when he was my age. He came to Rome in 1984 after a car accident left him with a broken neck and a substantial pay-off from the insurance company. Seems reasonable that a 26-year-old would use that money to chase his Italian girlfriend, who had gone home to Rome for the summer. The girlfriend’s name was Mariella, a beautifully exotic name that for me evoked a tan-legged, long-maned woman with a thick accent. Mariella’s parents put him up in their apartment in Piazza Bologna, in a separate bedroom, obviously, since her father was a generale in the Italian air force. He filled his time attending Italian lessons taught by a nun, until Mariella decided she was going to Sardinia and not taking my father with her. He called the only Roman he had met, Mario, who said, “You can go to my friend’s on the Appia Antica.” So he got on the back of Mario’s Honda motorcycle. Balancing a guitar in one hand and his suitcase in the other, they made their way over the cobblestones that are the thing of taxi-driver nightmares, and landed on the Appia Antica.

Where, 25 years later, I would stand and wait for the 765. Willing it to arrive, tapping my foot, checking my phone, and then looking up as the rumble of its weight came around the curve.

My daily adventure into the Eternal City begins from this point: the bus transporting me from my oasis and hurling me into the beautiful chaos that is Rome. I still haven’t figured out the undignified scramble of getting on the bus, unwilling to throw elbows to push past those getting off. Nor is my seat-grabbing strategy quite up to par. But the 765 connects me to a family, to roots my father planted, to a new culture that I am lucky enough to experience on a deep level, to the magic of The Compound.

Caitlin Frost

This article was published in the July edition of Wanted in Rome magazine.

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