The latest news about Italy – 28.02.2024

Note on Weather in Rome: Yellow Alert for Rain and Adverse Conditions

According to the Regional Civil Protection Agency of Lazio, Rome and its surrounding areas are anticipating adverse weather conditions, prompting the declaration of a yellow alert on February 28th. Over the next 24 hours, scattered and widespread precipitation is expected, including showers and brief thunderstorms in the northern sectors and scattered rainfall in the rest of the region.


As per experts from 3bmeteo, Rome’s weather forecast for February 28th indicates alternating clouds with periods of clear skies. However, by evening, cloud cover is expected to increase gradually, accompanied by light rain. The anticipated rainfall is estimated to be around 6 mm. The maximum temperature is projected to reach 19°C, with a minimum of 10°C, and a freezing level at 2260 meters. The wind will be moderate in the morning, blowing from the north-northeast, intensifying during the day.

Residents and visitors in Rome are advised to take necessary precautions and stay updated on weather forecasts, considering the possibility of unfavorable conditions


Venice’s New Entry Fee: Managing Tourism for a Sustainable Future – 5 €

In a recent announcement, the city of Venice has introduced a new measure aimed at regulating the influx of tourists and combating spontaneous tourism. Starting from April 25, 2024, all visitors not planning to stay overnight in the city will be required to pay a five-euro fee for entry.


This initiative comes in response to the issue of overcrowding and an unbalanced flow of tourists who visit Venice for just one day, causing significant inconvenience to both locals and other visitors. The introduction of an entry fee is expected to help regulate the tourist flow and create a more sustainable tourism environment.

Payment for entry can be made through a specially created online portal, which has been in operation since January 16, 2024. This allows tourists to pay the fee in advance, planning their visit to the city. It also enables the city authorities to collect data on the number of visitors and plan events to enhance the overall tourist experience.

The new entry rules apply on days when a high concentration of tourists is expected. This ensures a balance between preserving the unique atmosphere of Venice and providing comfortable conditions for all visitors. However, it is worth noting that those staying overnight in the city are exempt from paying this fee.

This initiative is not only aimed at balancing the tourist flow but also at preserving Venice’s cultural heritage and ensuring the city’s sustainable development. The measures implemented by the city underscore the importance of preserving the uniqueness and beauty of Venice, guarding against potential negative consequences of mass tourism.

In conclusion, these new entry rules for Venice may serve as an example for other popular tourist destinations facing similar issues, necessitating urgent measures and solutions.


Swisscom and Fastweb Set to Acquire Vodafone Italia for €8 Billion: A New Chapter in Telecommunications Integration in Italy

Swisscom, in collaboration with Fastweb, is poised to acquire Vodafone Italia for an impressive sum of €8 billion. This decision comes after the Anglo-Saxon group Iliad recently rejected an offer to purchase, making Swisscom the primary candidate for acquiring Vodafone’s Italian subsidiary.


Representatives of the Swiss telecommunications group have confirmed that they are currently in exclusive negotiations with Vodafone regarding the all-cash acquisition of 100% of Vodafone Italia’s shares. The plan is to merge the company with Fastweb, creating a formidable player in the Italian telecommunications market.

While the full terms of the deal are yet to be finalized, Swisscom and Vodafone have already agreed on a preliminary acquisition price for Vodafone Italia at €8 billion, excluding cash and debts. This strategic move aims to strengthen the positions of Swisscom and Fastweb in the Italian market, providing a wide range of services for customers.

In a company statement, it is emphasized that the goal of the deal is to combine the resources of Swisscom, Fastweb, and Vodafone Italia to enhance competitiveness and expand service offerings for customers. This strategic step will also enable the companies to more efficiently utilize infrastructure and technologies, ensuring broader coverage and higher-quality service.

If the deal is successfully concluded, it will create a major player in the Italian telecommunications market capable of offering innovative services and technologies. It may also impact the industry’s structure and competition, attracting interest from regulators and investors.

More concrete terms and details of the deal are expected to be defined in the coming weeks. The industry is eagerly anticipating the development of this pivotal moment in Italy’s telecommunications history


Massive Fraud Unveiled in Vas Services: €322 Million Seized in Milan’s Second Investigation”

Summary: Milan’s Finance Guard, in collaboration with colleagues from Rome, has executed a seizure order for nearly €322 million in the second leg of the Milanese investigation initiated in 2018. This chapter of the investigation focuses on the alleged massive fraud related to telecommunications services, with specific attention to Tim, even though the company itself is not under investigation.


The seizure decree, authorized by the judge upon the prosecutors’ request, involves five companies that, along with Tim (which has had approximately €250 million frozen), are accused of marketing so-called “Vas services” (Value Added Services). These paid services, activated through SMS, internet banners, and even without direct customer action, provide access to digital content on mobile phones, such as ringtones, horoscopes, weather forecasts, and news.

Over 20 individuals are under investigation in this second leg, coordinated by prosecutors Francesco Cajani and Eugenio Fusco. The accused, including some former non-executive Tim employees, face charges of computer fraud. The seizure decree, signed by Judge Patrizia Nobile, involves over €70 million distributed among five companies with offices in Milan, Rome, Turin, and Madrid. These companies are accused of creating and managing the sale of additional paid services not requested by customers.

This second leg of the investigation follows the earlier one opened in 2018, involving WindTre. Although the company is not under investigation, some former managers are defendants in the ongoing trial in Milan, where WindTre is mentioned as a civilly responsible party. In the initial part of the investigation, a fraud of around €99 million was hypothesized, leading to seven settlements and the repayment of €18.5 million. The Prosecution had outlined an illicit system that, between 2017 and 2020, allegedly resulted in thousands of unauthorized activations per day of “premium Vas services,” charging unsuspecting consumers €5 per week for these services


Avalanche Tragedy in Rasines-di-Dentro: Victims, Heroes, and the Importance of Mountain Experience

In the province of Bolzano in Alto Adige, a medium-sized avalanche occurred, claiming the lives of three young tourists, all of German nationality. The incident took place in the late afternoon in the remote area of Wumblsalma, over a kilometer away from the ski lifts. This tragic event highlights the significance of experience and risk assessment when engaging in extreme sports in the mountains.


One tourist was found deceased under a layer of snow over 4.5 meters deep, and two others were hospitalized in critical condition in Bolzano. All three were equipped with tracking devices, facilitating their rapid identification and location. The fourth member of the group, who remained in the hut, survived, but his friends either perished or sustained serious injuries.

Three emergency helicopters and numerous search teams, including the mountain rescue service Cnsas, Alpenverein, and Guardia di Finanza, arrived at the scene. Emergency services demonstrated exceptional professionalism and strength in the rescue operation.

Conditions and Hazards:

At the time of the incident, avalanche danger in the region was assessed as level 2 out of 5, not considered very high but still emphasizing the importance of caution. Over the previous days, around 60 centimeters of snow had fallen, creating potentially hazardous avalanche conditions. The snow rested on an old layer of frozen snow, which could lead to sudden snowmass detachment.

The Importance of Experience and Risk Assessment:

Even with a relatively low avalanche danger level, significant experience is required for safe mountain slope activities. Tourists engaged in ski mountaineering likely crossed the ridge during their ascent, triggering the avalanche.

In such conditions, careful terrain assessment and precautionary measures are necessary. Having appropriate equipment, such as an ARVA (avalanche transceiver for people search under snow), is crucial but not sufficient. Experience and knowledge of avalanche terminology can make the difference between life and death in such extreme situations.

The tragedy in Rasines-di-Dentro serves as a reminder of the need for continuous learning and maintaining a high level of mountain literacy among those who prefer active recreation in the mountains. Experience, responsibility, and knowledge become decisive factors in preserving lives in the unpredictable nature of mountainous regions


Policlinico Gemelli: Italy’s Best Hospital According to Newsweek’s 2024 Ranking”

In the latest ranking of the world’s best hospitals for 2024 by the American magazine Newsweek, Italy has secured an impressive presence with 14 of its medical institutions making it into the top 250. Leading the pack among Italian hospitals is Policlinico Gemelli, claiming the 35th spot in the overall ranking.


The top three positions globally were secured by Mayo Clinic in Rochester (USA), Cleveland Clinic (USA), and General University Health Network in Toronto (Canada). These results underscore the high quality of healthcare across different countries worldwide.

Italian medical institutions featured in the top list represent various regions of the country; however, regrettably, hospitals from the southern regions of Italy are notably absent. Policlinico Gemelli stands out as the first among Italy’s best hospitals, followed by institutions such as Niguarda Hospital in Milan, Irccss San Raffaele Hospital-San Donato Group, Clinical Institute Humanitas in Roccasano, among others.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that Policlinico Gemelli has been recognized as the “best hospital in Italy” for the fourth consecutive year. This institution has not only strengthened its position within the country but has also elevated its global standing, moving from the 38th position in the previous year’s ranking to the 35th spot in the top 250 global hospitals.

President of the Policlinico Gemelli Foundation, Carlo Fratta Pazini, expressed satisfaction with this remarkable achievement and emphasized the significance of the hospital’s history and mission in serving everyone, combining advanced medical care, research, and education. He highlighted that success is made possible through constant financial support from the founders of Università Cattolica and Instituto Toniolo, as well as the dedication of thousands of healthcare professionals.

The results of the Newsweek ranking, as noted by the Foundation’s CEO, Marco Elefanti, hold special significance in 2024 as Policlinico Gemelli celebrates its 60th anniversary. He called for the implementation of a financing and evaluation system that goes beyond regional boundaries to ensure even better patient care.

In turn, Antonio Gasbarrini, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, remarked that Policlinico Gemelli’s success will inspire students, playing a crucial role in the educational process.

In conclusion, Policlinico Gemelli’s success affirms the outstanding quality of medical services in Italy and positions the institution as a source of pride not only for the country but also for global healthcare


Safe Gene Silencing: Italian Researchers Achieve Successful Trials on Mice

Italian scientists have made a breakthrough in gene therapy, introducing a method that allows the “switching off” of a gene responsible for high cholesterol levels without altering DNA. The effect of this intervention proved to be long-term and safe, lasting up to a year.


Published in the journal Nature, the study was conducted by the Telethon San Raffaele Institute, the Institute of Gene Therapy in Milan, the University of Eastern Piedmont, the Institute of Biomedical Technologies of the National Research Council, along with the participation of the National Research Institute in Segrato and Milan’s Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.

The primary focus of the research was on the Pcsk9 gene, which regulates cholesterol levels in the blood. Some variants of this gene cause familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic condition associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. Angelo Lombardo, the lead researcher, notes, “In patients with this condition, the gene is more active, leading to an increase in cholesterol levels.”

Unlike traditional methods that aim to modify DNA sequences, Italian researchers applied an epigenetic approach. They developed molecules capable of silencing the Pcsk9 gene and encapsulated them in lipid nanoparticles, similar to those used in COVID-19 vaccines. This enabled the molecules to reach the liver, where they successfully “switched off” the gene.

A single application of the method proved sufficient for a long-term effect. Martino Alfredo Cappelluti, the first author of the study, emphasizes, “We have effectively confirmed that Pcsk9 is silenced stably and for a long time.”

The obtained results open new perspectives for the development of drugs based on epigenetic silencing for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, both inherited and acquired. This method could become a promising alternative for patients with this condition.

Lombardo comments, “Compared to other treatment methods, this approach has numerous advantages, as it is a therapy that needs to be administered only once in a lifetime, without altering the DNA sequence and having potentially reversible consequences.”

The positive outcomes of the research also open up possibilities for the treatment of other liver-related diseases and other organs. This method could potentially be applied in the treatment of hepatitis B and other central nervous system disorders.

This Italian experiment represents a significant step towards safe and effective methods of treating genetic diseases, and its success opens new horizons in the field of gene therapy


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