Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Di Renzo's Trinacria Published

Anthony Di Renzo's Trinacria - A Tale of Bourbon Sicily is now in print and Amazon should have it in stock by December. You can pre-order it.

Best of Sicily was a sponsor of its publication, and we've read an advance copy.

Italian historiography reflects a great deal of propaganda, especially for things that took place from around 1860 to around 1950.

Frankly, most Italians still don't have a strong position on their families' involvement with Fascism, if they even know much about that sordid chapter of Italian history, so to presume much knowledge of the 19th century might be presuming too much from most people raised in this charming country.

Though fictional, this book has a lot to say about revisionism, and it's an interesting read.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Refugees

Last week the Italians buried over 100 refugees who died in Italian waters off the Sicilian coast.

This is a reminder of at least two things. Italy is full of new immigrants, especially from Africa and Asia, and the country needs policies to ensure their safety.

Italy's politicians talk much but say little. In the wake of this tragedy - one of many - we hope to see concrete measures taken.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Taxing Month

October greets us with warm weather and a national tax increase.

The Italian economy has been in free fall for years. Italy is the only EU country clearly in recession, and the major problems began two years before the crash of 2008. Unemployment has reached frightening levels far worse than those of Spain, Greece or Britain.

The Italian solution? Raise taxes. (Well, to be fair, that's the "solution" in many places, not just Italy.)

Today the IVA, the national value-added or sales tax, on most consumer goods has gone up, to 22 percent.

How will this affect your visit to Sicily? Very little. Until yesterday the tax was 21 percent, and it's in line with most countries in western Europe. Consider, however, that in most parts of the United States it's nearer 8 percent.