Yikes... The Birds!

"Recently, following a research report from the veterinary sector of USL, the local health authority, the most pressing problem in Venice has become the pigeons. Eight birds out of ten are carriers of toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can occasionally be fatal, while others transmit salmonella, fungal diseases, or ticks. According to the monthly tests, their health is getting worse. The primary reason is related to their excessive number -- more than 70,000 -- which is greater than the human population of Venice. In the opinion of experts, the maximum should be less than 30,000 but, to obtain this result, as has been said many times before, it would be necessary to eliminate the St. Mark's street vendors who sell grain to tourists who, in turn, feed it to the birds."

(from Buongiorno Venezia - The News from Venice)

On a side note, strangely, I seem to post my rare news items on Venice's notorious pigeons on the same day each year...

The Prize Inside

The Prize Inside: Lovely prose on food, family, traditions and origins from this month's Utne Reader. Enjoy!

Garibaldi held hostage by turtles!

CURIO. At the entrance to the Public Gardens in the Castello district, there is a bronze monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi. The monument, created more than 120 years ago, and the fountain that surrounds it are in very poor condition and the municipality has decided to start restoration work in the next few days. Such activity is normal in an old town like Venice, but it is not without problems. Over the years, the fountain has been populated with turtles -- more than two hundred-- that Venetians brought there and abandoned. The firm in charge of the restoration, however, hasn't been able to find anyone who wants to care for the wayward amphibians and, without a home to go to for the duration of the project, the municipality won't authorise it to begin.
[where: Via Garibaldi, Venice Italy 30122]