Tag: Silvio BerlusconiView All Tags
He has property inside and outside of Milan, a palazzo in Rome and a villa in Sardinia, and yet all these lovely locations aren't enough to host Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's retinue of call girls. According to the Telegraph UK and intercepted communications, Silvio's dalliances have lately been focused instead on a rented 15th century castle just outside of Romethe Castello di Torcrescenza.
What Berlusconi hosts there are "dinners" with former Playboy models and other beautiful women, likely prostitutes procured from various sources he has, sources which are now being publicly named. Thus, we can only believe the his castle "dining" is over and you can look into renting the place for your next wholesome family vacation in Italy...or for other things. It does sounds nice:
Italy's new high-speed train service, Freccia Rossa ("Red Arrow"), made its inaugural high-speed rail service yesterday from Milan to Rome. The new service now lets travelers get from the fashion capital to the Eternal City in just three hours. (Currently, the trip takes about four hours.) Passengers can also get from Florence to Bologna in just 35 minutes, down from one hour.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rode the inaugural trip, even posing in the pilot's cabin wearing the chief engineer's hat. He looks so...cute?
After weeks of financial dealings that make the congressional bailout package look like third grade math, the carrier announced a deal with unions to keep it alive. Now that flight attendants have signed off on the rescue plan, it's time to (attempt to) sell Alitalia off piece-by-piece to investors.
At the very least, the airline has earned a re-up for its license by bringing all its unions on board: Alitalia has permission to fly until at least March 2009--as long as it can come up with the cash to buy fuel.
· ENAC Confirms Provisional License [AGI]
· Alitalia Investor Board Meeting Thursday [Reuters]
· Unions Clear Way for Relaunch [Guardian]
· Alitalia Rescue Hits Next Stage [FT]
· Flight Attendants Sign Rescue Plan [CNN]
Alitalia apparently still has some hope of staying alive, after a couple of key unions signed on for a rescue plan that might also include selling a small stake of the carrier to Air France-KLM. The Italian airline could lose its license to fly if a plan to pull it out of bankruptcy doesn't come together by the end of today.
Little problem though: Pilots and flight attendants still haven't agreed to the latest deal. And that interest from Air France is--at this point--not guaranteed. (That carrier actually tried to take over Alitalia earlier this year but gave up because of trouble with unions, among other things.)
So while there's a glimmer of hope today, we're not rushing out to buy tickets on Alitalia. Then again, we never were. Maybe that was part of the problem?
The Alitalia saga continues today, though so far the airline hasn't been grounded by Italy's civil aviation authority.
When we checked the carrier's website on Friday, it was still offering trips around the country and even internationally. Today, though, you'll also find a last-ditch effort from the airline asking for buyers. (It'll be published in some European newspapers tomorrow.)
You've got to admire the tenacity of Alitalia's "special administrator," who's been charged with finding any way possible to keep the airline aloft. But Silvio Berlusconi's spokesman said it best:
Buyers are not queueing up for Alitalia.
· Alitalia's Days Numbered [Reuters]
· Alitalia Sends up SOS for Bids [AFP, via Google]
· Alitalia Could Be Grounded in Three Days [Telegraph]
· What if Alitalia Fails? [TIME]
· Alitalia's Not Quite Dead [TCF]
Things for Alitalia somehow look worse than they did earlier this week, with passengers wondering if the carrier has enough cash to cover the fuel for its flights. (Alitalia says it does.) Meanwhile, Italy's National Civil Aviation Authority says Silvio Berlusconi has until Monday to fix the crisis--or it'll ground the carrier.
Berlusconi--who made fixing Alitalia a major campaign promise--is blaming airline unions for refusing to OK his most recent rescue plan. Fliers are already abandoning the airports for safer travel options; the state railway company is adding trains between Milan and Rome to accommodate the extra traffic.
Meanwhile, there are still lots of deals being advertised on alitalia.com: Want to flee Rome for the Sicilian town of Catania? That's just €92 each way! But, uh, book with a credit card!
· Berlusconi Given Deadline for Alitalia Rescue [UK Times]
· Alitalia Flies into Uncharted Territory [FT]
· Alitalia Officially Italy's Most Ridiculous Airline [Jaunted]
Europe Travel / Summer Travel / President Bush / Nicolas Sarkozy / Pope Benedict XVI / Silvio Berlusconi / President-Bush-European-Vacation-Map / → All Tags
It may cost $1.55 to buy a euro, but President Bush is still enjoying high season in Europe. The commander in chief has been on a whirlwind tour of the Continent since June 9, making stops from Slovenia to the UK.
Bush started his tour in Slovenia, which he once confused with Slovakia. After hobnobbing with European Union officials, he left for Germany to chat with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Later he flew to Italy for a two-stop meeting: After talking with Silvio Berlusconi, Bush skipped over to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.
Later, after breakfast in Paris, the president crossed the Channel to the UK. His last stop was in Belfast, where he presumably changed his pounds back into dollars--and started planning his next trip to a place where the greenback is stronger.
Check the route on our President Bush European Vacation Map.
[Photo: The White House]
Earlier this week we encouraged you to hop on Eurofly's cheap NYC-Naples flight for a last minute Amalfi Coast escape. You probably noticed that no where in that post did we say, "Hang around in garbage-filled Naples."
If you've been living in a dumpster you might not have heard, but the city is literally knee-deep in a ten thousand-ton garbage crisis that is stinking and cluttering up the once electrifying Southern Italian city.
In a bold move yesterday, newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rode down to Naples on his white horse, vowing at his first official cabinet meeting to clean up the mess and give the city's tourism industry a fighting chance. How? His plan is to open five new dumps, guard them with the military and send anyone who tries to infringe on the operation to jail for a couple years.
To make sure Berlusconi didn't get his shoes dirty on Wednesday, some trash was scooped up before he came to town. Time reminds us that Berlusconi once gave similar quality-of-life orders to Genoa residents who were forced to pull in their hanging laundry before a G8 summit. And we remember how well that turned out...
[Photo: taras bulba]
Both Milan and Venice would love a profitable spring tourism season, but we have to wonder if having racist campaign posters plastered around the north of the country is the wisest way to drum up international appeal.
May we regretfully introduce the Lega Nord, a relatively new side show act in the already fascinating Italian political circus. Since 1991, the Lega party has been spewing bold political propaganda and outwardly racist opinions towards what they believe to be criminal immigrants, freeloading Southern Italians and gay exhibitionists.
In the north of Italy this week you may still see the Northern League's campaign manifestos lingering after Monday's national election. As expected, the winner was Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the LN.
As for the posters themselves, the Native American cautiously warns that Italians could end up just like him, on a reservation, if they allow more immigrants to make a home in Italy. The one with the fat egg-snatching woman says, "Wake up Northern Italians! With Lega Nord, Against Roman Thieves." Something tells us these fellas didn't play well with the other kids in preschool.
· Back in Office, Berlusconi Enthusiastically Seizes Reins [NYT]
· Bankrupt Airline Buzz: Is Alitalia Next? [Jaunted]
· Italy Travel coverage [Jaunted]
Last week's billion-dollar Air France-KLM bid for our struggling amici at Alitalia was going once, going twice... and frustratedly yanked off the table. The generally-awful Italian carrier is now a strong contender for the title of "Newest Bankrupt Airline in April," and we're only 10 days in.
Alitalia's fate has been hanging in the balance of Italy's recent--and trademark--political turmoil. The drama could reach a climax this weekend when Italians head to the polls to elect a new leader, the majority of whom support media mogul Silvio Berlusconi --whose nationlistic stance doesn't gel with the Air France-KLM deal.