Good morning everyone on Friday 19th March. As was hoped and expected, the European Medicines Agency once again gave the all-clear to the AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine, confirming there were no links between the jab and the tiny number of people who had suffered blood clots after their inoculation.
So thankfully, after this needless pause at just the moment the country should have been stepping up the vaccination program, the jabs can resume. Yesterday in Italy 24,935 new cases of Covid-19 were reported and although this was a small increase on the previous day, for the first time in a long time it was a decrease on the equivalent day last week. Last Friday there were 26,793 new cases reported so it'll be interesting to see if the figures reported later today are lower than that as that would then suggest the start of a downward trend.
Away from the pandemic, my favourite news article today has come from the tiny town of Vivaro in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. The sleepy, unassuming town with a population of just over a thousand inhabitants was woken up with a bang as it was the scene of a rather bizarre incident with tragic consequences for the local chicken population. In an impressive show of strength, the Italian army fired on a chicken coop with a tank. Yes, a tank. Details of what the mission's aims were are yet to arrive but if a chicken blitz was their true purpose then they can feel very proud of themselves.
As we mourn the tragic loss of these poor chickens we can turn our attention to the weather which unfortunately, is also rather foul (chortle). The country is currently experiencing some unseasonal winter conditions with temperatures ranging from just 4° Celsius in Turin to a maximum of 15° C in Reggio Calabria. It's officially spring next week so let's hope this is our final reminder of winter for another nine months.
I'll soon be putting together an article on lakeside towns of Italy and I have already listed them out on this website in my own preferred order. Topping that list for me is the beautiful town of Varenna on Lake Como, closely followed by pretty Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta in the Piedmont region. I suspect some of you may disagree with my selections of Bellagio only in third place or Sirmione in fourth but it would be great to hear some of your own opinions on what the order should really look like. Lake Garda favourites Limone and Malcesine will I'm sure receive a few votes of confidence as will Stresa which faces the wonderful Borromean Islands on Lake Maggiore.
You can find my list at the link above but let me know if you think I've got it all wrong, if I've missed out one of your favourites or indeed if you think one of my entries simply doesn't belong on the list. I'll be writing the article in the next few weeks and your words may prove to be influential!
Well that's me done for the week in terms of the daily blog. For those of you that are interested, keep an eye out for the Coronavirus bulletin later today. The figures are usually posted around 17:00 Italian time and the important number to keep in mind is 26,793 which was last Friday's figure. Anything below that and we're really heading in the right direction again.
Have a great weekend and I'll leave you with some of my favourite lakeside towns to ponder.
My name is Dion Protani, founder of Italy Review. The Italy Review blog is designed to provide ideas and inspiration to visit places in Italy you might not have heard about, as well those you have.