Good morning all. The Italian news is abuzz today with the story of the president asking a certain Mario Draghi to form a new government. I really don't follow Italian politics that closely; they seem to like to talk a lot, have crises and generally not change anything so I don't expect this news to have much effect either.
In terms of the pandemic: yesterday there were 9,660 new cases, up from yesterday's 7,925 but an overall drop of 9,824 people that currently have the virus (437,765 in total).
News in the UK suggests the Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine has the power to not only stop you from getting the virus, but also to negate the chance of passing it on which is great news if it turns out to be the case. Also in the UK, Ryanair have been in the news today, receiving a rap from the advertising authorities for their "Jab and Go" campaign which was deemed to be "irresponsible". The Irish aviation company remains bullish however about the prospects of international travel this summer and specifically mentioned Italy, among other European destinations that would be open to travel later this year.
Something that caught my attention in one of the Italian newspapers this morning was a report about the annual Sanremo Festival taking place this year. There had been some doubt over it, but it seems that it will indeed go ahead, at the beginning of March, just without the usual live audience.
Outside of Italy, the festival doesn't capture a huge amount of attention but it's a pretty big deal for a lot of Italians. It takes place in the northern seaside town of Sanremo in Liguria, at the famous Ariston Theatre, and is transmitted live by the Italian national broadcaster: RAI. The event sees a mixture of established musical acts and newcomers vie for various prizes; a kind of Eurovision Song Contest for Italy without the international voting.
Sanremo is one of the largest seaside towns in Italy; famous for its art-nouveau architecture, the pinnacle of which is the casino, built in 1904. Known in some quarters as the "City of Flowers" due to its important flower market and role within the industry, Sanremo is a place of fin de siècle charm, a great place to base oneself for discovery of the wider Liguria region.
Sanremo lies just 30 kilometres from the French border where you can find one of Italy's most impressive gardens, the English-named: Hanbury Botanical Gardens. For today's photo I've chosen the yachts in Sanremo's harbour and I'll be back with another update tomorrow.
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.