News bites this February

In Italian news this February, 400-year-old dentures discovered, Italy’s best pastry shop, and McDonalds lawsuit against the city of Florence…

Glad it’s all over

‘Gladiators’ have once again been banned from the streets of Rome.

Following a similar regulation that expired in November, Mayor Virginia Raggi has ordered actors portraying the historical characters to keep away after receiving complaints from tourists that they were being charged extortionate amounts for a photo opportunity – it’s been claimed that some actors are making up to €12,000 a month from the venture. Under the new law, which has been put in place until July – a fine of €400 will be issued to anyone found portraying a gladiator or centurion. Rickshaws have also been banned from the city centre.     

Bridging time

Think dentures are a recent invention? Well, think again. Archaeologists in Tuscany have unearthed a set that are believed to be 400 years old. The set of gnashers, discovered in a tomb at the monastery of Saint Francesco in Lucca, are actually real teeth repurposed for a second user, and are strung together with a golden band. While the excavators are unable to say who the dentures belonged to, they’re in no doubt of their historical value. “The dentures found in the tomb are the first example of dentures from this period,” said a spokesman, “and as such are a valuable addition to the history of dentistry.”    

Puffed up with pride

Cake connoisseurs, head to Brescia now. The city’s Pasticceria Veneto has been named Italy’s best pastry shop in an annual list published by Gambero Rosso – the country’s answer to the Michelin Guide. Pasticceria Veneto scored 95 out of a possible 100 points, one of 18 bakeries nationwide to receive the coveted Tre Torte (‘three cakes’) award – given to businesses that score 90 or more points. It’s renowned for its delicious take on both national and international recipes, which are beautifully hand-wrapped on the premises. Summarising the list, Gambero Rosso said that Italian pastry chefs  “are renowned as masters, for their creativity, technique and ingredients”.

Florence and the ‘mc’-chine

McDonald’s is launching an 17.8million lawsuit against the city of Florence after its plans to open a restaurant on the historic Piazza del Duomo were thwarted. That’s the figure that the US food chain estimates it will lose in takings over the next 18 years, after the city’s mayor Dario Nardella rejected its proposals. “McDonald’s has the right to submit an application, because this is permitted under the law,” said Nardella, “but we have the right to say no.” At the end of last year, it was reported that McDonald’s angered cardinals at the Vatican after revealing plans to open a branch in Saint Peter’s Square.