My Favorite Italy Headlines

by Mario 05-Jan 2011

                                            Italy's Freccia Rossa Trains Offer Free WiFi

Easy Access Italy Internet Finally a Reality

As of January 1st, 2011 registration is no longer required to access a WiFi hotspot in Italy. While internet access was widely available, the old anti-terrorism Pisanu law required users to list an Italian  phone number, passport information, etc. as a condition of access. That law was repealed. From now on visitors to Italy will find free access to the Web unencumbered. For a guide to free WiFi Hot Spots check this link. Use the drop down named Città, to pick the city you want; under Tipologia you may narrow down the type of establishments that offer WiFi or just choose ALL for a complete list; I'd also use ALL in the Provider field. Make sure to click the GRATIS (free) button before hitting the search key. Skype users with a an IPhone or similar can even make free video phone calls back home from over the Web!

 

Italy Paper or Plastic? — Nonna's Gotta Brand New Bag

As of January 1, 2011 existing stocks of plastic bags are being phased out and plastic bags will no longer be produced or available in Italy. Choices will be confined to recycled paper or bioplastic material that's made from renewable, biodegradable sources such as corn starch. The concerns that lead Italy to enact this law were threefold: over one trillion plastic bags are produced annually in the world that can remain in the environment for up to 1000 years; countless animals including whales, tortoises and marine birds suffer needless deaths, some to the point of extinction and third, the toxic danger to humans from carcinogenic dyes, metals and other chemicals used in the manufacturing process. When polled, a majority of Italians chose reusable cloth sacks and wicker baskets over any other alternative. Who would have thought that nonna's sack would become modern day Italy's eco-friendly alternative? Pretending to know Italy and the Italians just a bit, I will wager that Prada, Gucci, Furla will shortly unleash the most stylish, must-have, market bags designed to consume just one renewable resource: your money.

 

                          Italian poppy fields are pretty to look at — the real money comes from olive oil

TOP SECRET: Not Yet Coming to a Store Near You

Of all the documents and communiques released by Wikileaks one interesting Italy related tidbit managed to escape most everyone's attention. Back on February 8th, 2010 U.S. Defense Secretary Gates met in Rome with Franco Frattini, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Frattini, eager to assist the U.S.A's efforts in Afghanistan offered Italy's unique help: convert the opium producing poppy fields to the production of olives and olive oil. While at first blush the offer may elicit a chuckle, olive oil, especially the good stuff, is extremely expensive, quite profitable and possibly the only legal crop that could compel Afghani farmers to make the switch. It's been nearly a year and still no word on Italy's offer.

Italy Goes Wi-Fi — Cyber Surfing in Villa Borghese

by Mario 12-Jan 2010

Rome — In an effort to attract today’s modern travelers, Italy is going high tech in a big way. On January 7th, 2010 Nicola ZingarettiPresident of the Province of Roma, stood in front of Trajan’s Column to officially launch 200 free Wi-Fi access points across the entire Rome metro area. Rome intends to add 300 more points by the end of the year and plans on staking its claim as the largest, free Wi-Fi zone on the planet. Imagine sipping cappucino across from the Pantheon while attending to business back home or making online reservations for dinner.

All Italian cities, towns and provinces including Tuscany are following Rome’s lead and emerging daily with dozens of free zones of their own. At the moment, there are over 10,000 such spots throughout the country. The number is likely to double during the course of 2010 alone. For a country immersed in history, everyday Italians have consistently embraced modern technology faster than any other population I’m aware of. To link in to the Rome system, users need only to open their device in a designated area and complete the free registration form that pops up on their screen.

While free Wi-Fi access is clearly meant to spark tourism, most of the official sites are presently only in Italian. I did find these sites in English: Roma Wireless & Jiwire

The following links are written in Italian but are relatively easy to figure out. Rome’s constantly updated Wi-Fi map and a comprehensive Italy wide Wi-Fi search tool. For those that do not speak Italian here are some simple instructions on using the last link:

  1. Go to the top box called RICERCA 
  2. Enter the location next to the words CITTA' o PROVINCIA using the Italian spelling for cities: Roma, Firenze, Milano, etc.
  3. Next to the word TIPOLOGIA click the button marked FREE
  4. Click on the search button labeled CERCA
  5. Clicking on each of the results in the NOME column shows a Google map with the address of each location.

As more multi-language links emerge please pass them along.

About this blog

Welcome to our Access Italy blog, a mosaic of eclectic, but practical, information; fascinating cultural insights; and unique commentary on a wonderful way of life only the Italians could have designed.  more....

 

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