(Photo Credit: Scavetta, Richard (Rick) A., CIV USARMY IMCOM EUROPE (US)) VIEW ORIGINAL

* The U.S. Army Garrison Italy Public Affairs Office provides this courtesy summary and translations of local news to our community for situational awareness. The views expressed in this news summary are of Italian news organizations and do not reflect the official viewpoint of USAG Italy or the U.S. military. (Italian News translation team includes Anna Ciccotti, Angela Balbo, Chiara Mattirolo and Laura Kreider)

News Summaries from Feb. 11, 2022

Vicenza/Veneto 

  • Covid slows down, but controls remain
  • Checks in the "hot" areas of the city
  • Vicenza marks Day of Remembrance of foibe massacres
  • Montegalda to farewell Vittorino, eye-witness from Russian front
  • Wounded eagle is released after six months of healing
  • Wild boars on the rise despite over 1500 culls
  • San Bortolo surgeons cure a two-year-old child from epilepsy

Livorno

  • Florence hosts Pope Francis at the Mediterranean Bishops and Mayors conference
  • Tuscany, poorer after COVID-19
  • Vicopisano, Buti, Calci and San Giuliano warn about fire danger
  • Tuscany: lights off on major monuments against energy cost increase
  • U.S. Housing office “hunting” for houses to rent

COVID-19 Updates – February 11, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Il Tirreno & Il Giornale di Vicenza

There were 75,861 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours in Italy, with 325 new deaths. The positivity rate is steady at 11.1 percent. Currently, there are 1,813,274 active cases in Italy, of which 132,132 in Veneto and 92,632 in Tuscany. Lombardy is the region with the highest number of new cases (+8,395), followed by Lazio (+8,133), Veneto (+7,427), Campania (+7,362), and Sicily (+7,194). News sources note that Italy has surpassed 150,000 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

News sources devote prominent coverage to Italy’s entering a "new phase" of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the vaccination rate rises, case numbers fall and the health situation continues to improve across the country. Effective today, (Feb. 11, 2022) masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors, regardless of the regional color-code designation. The only exception is the region of Campania (Naples) where Governor Vincenzo De Luca issued a local ordinance to prolong the mask mandate outdoors until March.

Media highlight that today Italy's nightclubs, discos and dance halls are permitted to reopen after having been shut since just before New Year's Eve. Under the new rules, a Super Green Pass will be needed to enter clubs and masks will be required unless on the dance floor, with venues operating to a maximum capacity of 50 percent indoors and 75 percent outdoors. Starting February 15, workers over age 50 will be required to provide proof of receiving a minimum of one vaccine dose.

Newspapers anticipate that in the coming months the government is likely to lift many of the restrictions currently in place, including the mandatory use of face masks, the Green Pass requirement, and mass-testing of the population. Media also note that other Western countries are announcing that COVID restrictions will soon be lifted, including the UK, France, Poland, Denmark, and the United States. (Summary by Anna Ciccotti)

COVID-19 slows down, but controls remain – February 11, Il Giornale di Vicenza

Prefect Signoriello confirms that anti-Covid controls will not be reduced. In less than two months, those "specific" for anti-virus restrictions were over 73,000 in the whole province. From Dec. 6, 2021 (debut day of the super green pass) to Jan. 31, an average of a thousand checks a day were carried out, with 229 total violations of the green pass rules. Controls on commercial activities were 11,484, an average of 201 per day. In this case, the violations were 152. As of today, there will no longer be specific indications in monitoring the correct use of the masks (which, however, remain mandatory indoors and in gathering contexts), but the real turning point will come only on March 31, a date that should mark the end of the state of emergency that has been going on since January 2020. (Summary by Angela Balbo)

Checks in the "hot" areas of the cityFebruary 10, Il Giornale di Vicenza

At the end of a new blitz in the "hottest" areas of the city, chief of Police Paolo Sartori signed another 26 administrative measures against offenders or people with previous police records. The latest crackdown on drug dealing and crime began on Tuesday, when policemen, carabinieri, finance and local police checked a total of 97 people, including 39 foreigners and 35 previous offenders. Ten vehicles were checked and 5 public establishments inspected, some of the latter also at the request of residents disturbed by loud music or the shouting of patrons until late in the evening. "The now daily extraordinary control activities of the territory that are being carried out jointly with the other police forces are aimed at achieving a fundamental objective for all of us, namely the maintenance of public order and safety and the reduction of crime throughout the province - highlighted the Sartori - This is the goal we have set ourselves, and these operations will continue.” (Summary by Angela Balbo)

Vicenza marks Day of Remembrance of foibe massacres - February 11, Il Giornale di Vicenza

Yesterday, Italy marked the Day of Remembrance for the Foibe, the massacre of the thousands of Italians by Tito's partisans in ethnic cleansing at the end of WWII. In Vicenza, civilian and military leaders took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Municipal Cemetery to commemorate the victims of the Foibe atrocities. The 'foibe' refers to mass killings of the local Italian population, mainly in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia during and after World War II. Foibe are narrow pits or gorges into which victims were thrown, sometimes alive. “I am 86 years old and I’ve seen horrific things,” said eyewitness Anna Maria Fagarazzi in her remarks during the event. Addressing students from a local school, Fagarazzi noted the importance of remembering what happened to many Italians living in former Yugoslavia. She encouraged them to study and ensure this lesson from history is not forgotten. Representing the Vicenza Military community at the ceremony were Lt. Col. John Hubbs, USAG Italy Chaplain, and Lt. Col. Fernando Franco, SETAF-AF, Plans Officer for the Deputy Chief of Staff Engineers. (Summary by Anna Ciccotti)

Montegalda to farewell Vittorino, eye-witness from Russian front - February 11, Il Giornale di Vicenza

To describe the pain of aging, he would use the metaphor: “The years are many, and the tires more and more deflated.” Vittorino Miotto, born in 1920 at Montegalda, was one of the last eye-witnesses of the retreat from Russia in 1943. He passed away peacefully at the age of 102 years old, in the heart of a winter season he hated so much because it would bring back memories of the atrocities he suffered during that bitter winter of 1943. At the age of 19, Miotto was sent with the Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia (Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia) to the Eastern front near Stalingrad. Eventually Italian troops would be trampled into the snow by waves of enemy tanks that had materialized from the freezing fogs of the vast Russian steppe. Many Italians were killed, and those that weren't disappeared into the Soviet gulag prison camps. Nearly half of the Italians who fought in Russia never made it home. Miotto was one of the three men that came back out of the 50 Alpini deployed from the 137th Autieri Regiment from the Verona-based Pasubio Division. An Italian army doctor managed to medevac him onto the last train departing from Russia with a diagnosis of pleurisy, pneumonia, and frozen feet. He was transported to the military hospital of Milan. He weighed only forty kilos and was so emaciated that his father did not recognize him. He was a well-respected veteran within the community and very active with peers associations. His hometown of Montegalda will farewell him Saturday morning at the Church of Bastia for a celebration of life. (Summary by Anna Ciccotti)

Wounded eagle is released after six months of healing – February 11, Il Giornale di Vicenza

Last August, a wounded young golden eagle was found in a chicken coop in Montecchio Maggiore, entangled in a net. Weakened and weighing only 3.3 kilograms, the 4-year-old male specimen was entrusted to the care of the Birds of Prey Recovery Center until yesterday's release along the road to the Asiago plateau. The eagle took off as soon as the cage was opened, gaining altitude. “There are six pairs of golden eagles that frequent the Vicenza area and only some of them are nesting - explains the regional hunting and fishing office - Most of the causes of recovery especially of kestrels and owls are due to bruises with electric cables or cableways, or impacts with cars especially at night. Now, the eagle will have to look for a territory.” Its recovery in Montecchio, an anomalous area for an eagle, was in all probability due to the need to find a hunting area because the neighboring areas were already taken. “He is still young - explains Alberto Fagan of the Recovery Center - he is dazed because we have been taking care of him for six months, but now he is in full shape. He will through a period of adaptation, he weighs a kilo more than when we found him and even without food he has an autonomy of about twenty days.” The eagle now has a satellite GPS which will allow to keep it monitored. (Summary by Angela Balbo)

Wild boars on the rise despite over 1500 culls February 10, Il Giornale di Vicenza

Yesterday, the region held a conference on wild boars in Lusiana. The growing presence of wild boars on the Asiago plateau and in the Vicenza area is cause for alarm both for the damage it causes and for the risk that the animal could transmit swine flu to farmed pigs. Furthermore, the consumption of raw or undercooked wild boar meat can transmit diseases to man. “All the local administrations are worried - declared mayor of Lusiana Conco Antonella Corradin -. There is considerable damage to alpine pastures, with risks related to tourism and hydrogeological stability.” Damage to agriculture has increased fourfold since 2008, a sign that the actions implemented are not enough. Last year, 1,557 animals were killed in the Vicenza area, still without containing them. Commander of the provincial police Claudio Meggiolaro: “There are 1,372 authorized hunters, but the results are limited. The traps are more effective, but they cost money.” Another problem is the veterinary control, possible in only three centers, which involves two trips by the hunter, increasing costs and discouraging hunters. “The process must be simplified - advises the Ulss 7 director of the veterinary service - by sending small samples of sensitive muscle to the control centers. In this way, we favors the killing of young specimens, not economically convenient but crucial in the explosion of the population and therefore in the damage.” (Summary by Angela Balbo)

San Bortolo surgeons cure a two-year-old child from epilepsy – February 9, Il Giornale di Vicenza

Two and a half years old, Leonardo was suffering from an epilepsy that shook his body and mind with violent shocks. The child was hardly living anymore, with dozens of seizures a day: violent spasms, which lasted very long minutes, sometimes up to half an hour. He couldn't talk, play, do anything. The parents were desperate. The doctors of Conegliano asked Dr. Lorenzo Volpin, head of neurosurgery at San Bortolo, for help. And, again this time, he has accomplished a truly extraordinary feat. Epilepsy surgery is a rare, elite, complicated and little known subject. In Italy, it is practiced only in Milan. Dr. Volpin is used to performing surgical miracles within that complex, delicate organ that is the brain, as long as there is even only one chance of finding an opening between entangled arteries and vital nerve centers. So, he studied the problem in depth, and decided to remove the frontal lobe, the left anterior part of the brain responsible for triggering this furious epilepsy. A very difficult intervention: he had to find a way in a narrow and winding path with the scalpel. The surgery was successful, and now Leonardo is fine. A new surgical story opens up at San Bortolo. (Summary by Angela Balbo)

PISA/LIVORNO

Florence hosts Pope Francis at the Bishops and Mayors conference February 11, La Nazione

FLORENCE - From Feb. 23 to 27, Florence will host the conference of Mediterranean bishops and mayors, which will be concluded by Pope Francis at the presence of Italian Republic President, Sergio Mattarella, on his first official visit after his re-election. The conference will be opened by Prime Minister Mario Draghi. An eagerly awaited event, which follows two years after the first edition desired by the Italian Episcopal Conference in Bari. This year’s conference theme will highlight Giorgio La Pira, a man of faith and of government, who in 1955 brought to Florence the mayors of world capitals, including the Communists of Moscow at the height of the Cold War, starting in 1958 the Mediterranean Colloquies. The conference of bishops hosted in the convent of Santa Maria Novella, will be flanked by the international conference of mayors, whose work will begin on Feb. 25 in Palazzo Vecchio, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio, and will have a common part on Saturday and Sunday. The celebration can be followed on a big screen from the square where, due to COVID-19, only 1,200 people can be seated. At noon the Holy Father will be in the churchyard for the Angelus, the last public act before returning to the Vatican. (Summary by Chiara Mattirolo)

Tuscany feels poorer after COVID-19 - February 11, La Nazione

FLORENCE - The pandemic and the drop in PIL (Gross Domestic Product) increase poverty in Tuscany. The various forms of income support limit the damage. These are the data from the fifth report on "Poverty and Social Inclusion”. The percentage of Tuscans in absolute poverty went from 3.2 percent to 3.3 percent between 2020 and 2021. A contained increase because limited by a series of income support interventions received by one million Tuscans. 13 percent of those interviewed consider themselves poor, 8 percent claim to have difficulty in making it to the end of the month, and 9 percent have registered a worsening of their economic situation in 2020. Meanwhile, food aid, a thermometer of the deepest difficulties, has grown in Tuscany by 13.3 percent between 2019 and 2021, so much so that in 2020 3.9 million euros value of food was distributed. The distress is greater in the provinces of Massa Carrara, Lucca and Florence. There are 98,129 families in Tuscany, which without any form of income support, would have found themselves in absolute poverty as a result of COVID-19, the measures implemented have reduced this number by over 40,000 units and 2.6 percentage points. (Summary by Chiara Mattirolo)

Vicopisano, Buti, Calci and San Giuliano warn about fire danger - February 11, La Nazione

VICOPISANO, BUTI, CALCI SAN GIULIANO - The weather forecast is gradually worsening in Tuscany with strong gusts of wind “Grecale” starting from the early hours of tomorrow and maximum alert for the danger of fire on Monte Pisano, where it has not rained for weeks. This is what emerged from the meeting of the Forest Fire Coordination Monte Pisano and the Tuscany Region of February 10. The meeting highlighted the need to raise the level of attention, especially on Saturday 12 and Sunday, February 13, and the municipalities of Vicopisano, Calci, San Giuliano Terme and Buti recommend to the citizens to observe precaution for wildfire over the weekend. Anyone who spots the beginning of a fire should immediately call the following numbers: 800 425 425 Tuscany Region Permanent Operations Division, or 112 Emergency number for the Fire Brigade. (Summary by Chiara Mattirolo)

Tuscany: lights off on major monuments against high energy cost increase February 11, Il Tirreno

Lights switched off on an iconic monument, in every city or town, for half an hour against high energy prices. It happened last night from 8 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. in all Tuscan municipalities and in most Italian municipalities. A sign of protest, promoted by the National Association of Municipalities (Anci). In Florence, the lights went out on Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Medici Riccardi and Ponte Vecchio. Three symbols of the Tuscan capital without lighting for 30 minutes. "The increase in energy costs is not only bringing citizens and businesses, already suffering from the pandemic, to their knees, but is also casting a heavy shadow over the budgets of many municipalities," said Dario Nardella Florence Mayor. "The government's relief measures are more necessary than ever." (Summary by Chiara Mattirolo)

U.S. Housing office “hunting” for houses to rentFebruary 9, Il Tirreno

PISA - Over the years, supply has always managed to meet the demand. Dozens and dozens of properties available to meet the demands and, often, the high standards sought. The attention towards what has always been considered an important economic basin for the provincial territories of Pisa and Livorno, however, has been decreasing more and more, in spite of the approximately four million euros that, on average, the civilian and military personnel of the US base of Camp Darby spends for rents and private utilities annually. This downward curve has prompted the installation to launch a sort of appeal and invite homeowners to make property available for rent to the families of employees at the military installation located between Pisa and Livorno. At least thirty housing options are needed by the base's housing office, a sort of internal real estate agency whose task is to facilitate the search for homes for American personnel working at Camp Darby and their families. To do this, the base has organized a seminar to be held on Feb. 24 (from 5.30-7.30 p.m.) at the Golf Hotel in Tirrenia with the aim of meeting property owners, explaining the advantages of renting apartments to Camp Darby employees and including a number of properties in the list of those that the military installation can offer its personnel. "The military community of Camp Darby wants to increase its inventory of houses and asks for the support of the territory of Pisa and Livorno in the search for properties to rent," explain a representative from the base housing office which is "hunting" for independent houses, semi-detached houses and flats, possibly with a large surface area. “Generally speaking, we require a minimum four-year lease and a number of amenities that increase the quality of the property: air conditioning, burglar alarms, mosquito nets, a fitted kitchen and private parking.” The average annual expenditure incurred by the US civilian and military personnel at Camp Darby for rent (including payment of utilities) is around four million euros. This is the figure calculated by the military installation’s financial resources office in its latest report on the economic impact that the base has on the Pisa and Livorno areas. A total of almost 44 million euro per year, also calculating commercial expenses, medical expenses incurred in Italian health facilities and the salaries of Italian civilian personnel. The latter, with more than 22 million euro per year, represent one of the heaviest budget items, followed by the commercial expenses incurred by the base (which also include contracts financed with government funds for, for example, the construction and upgrading of infrastructure and equipment), which amount to an average of 20 million per year. (Summary by Chiara Mattirolo)