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Finally, Pizza Officially Recognized as Art Form

It's part of the 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity'

(Newser) - The city of Naples, often in headlines because of its garbage woes and mafia violence, is celebrating international recognition of its tastier side, the AP reports. UNESCO on Thursday added the art of the Neapolitan pizza maker, or "pizzaiuolo," to its list of "intangible cultural heritage of... More »

This Ancient Vial of Blood Suggests 2017 Is Cursed

Saint's blood failed to liquefy, just like in 1939

(Newser) - And you thought 2016 was a rough year. Humanity is apparently in for a disaster equal to World War II or a cholera epidemic, based on an ancient vial of blood. According to legend, a woman collected the blood of Saint Januarius, or San Gennaro—the once pious bishop of... More »

Cops Didn't Expect to Find 'Priceless' Works in Mob Raid

But Italian police turned up two Van Gogh pieces stolen in 2002

(Newser) - It was a day that Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum may have never thought would come. "The paintings have been found!" Axel Rueger, the museum's director, said at a Naples, Italy, press conference Friday, per a release . Those paintings, according to NBC News , are two of the... More »

Open Wide: World's Longest Pizza Stretches for 1.15 Miles

Made in Naples, naturally

(Newser) - Guinness World Records has confirmed there's a new superlong pizza for the books—and it was meticulously crafted in the Italian city that claims itself as the "heart and soul" of the tasty dish, per NPR . One hundred chefs gathered in Naples Wednesday, merging 4,400 pounds... More »

WWII Survivor's Letter Leads Geologist to a Secret

A 90-year-old war survivor tipped off geologists

(Newser) - Had a man not sat down and written a letter, those who live in Naples, Italy's Monte di Dio neighborhood may still have no idea what lies beneath their feet. But a 90-year-old WWII survivor sent his subterranean recollection of escaping the bombs pelting his city during WWII to... More »

Naples to Catholic Church: Hands Off the Treasure

Italians say Vatican is trying to wrest control of a trove worth more than crown jewels

(Newser) - "Don't touch the treasure." That's the message more than 3,000 demonstrators in Naples had for the Roman Catholic Church on Saturday. The faithful in that southern Italian city fear that a recent government ruling could help the church get its hands on a priceless collection... More »

Pope Hailed for Blood 'Half-Miracle'

Archbishop says Francis turned saint's blood back to liquid

(Newser) - Pope Francis was credited with what could be deemed a half-miracle in Naples, Italy, on Saturday, although it didn't involve bringing anybody halfway back to life or turning water halfway into wine. Instead, the normally-solidified blood of St. Gennaro, the city's patron saint, half-liquefied when the pope kissed... More »

Italian 'Super Volcano' May Threaten Millions

Scientists plan to drill deep below Romans' 'hell gateway'

(Newser) - A hidden "super volcano" near Pompeii threatens an eruption that could make Vesuvius look like a picnic, scientists warn. The Phlegraean Fields zone of intense seismic activity—which the ancient Romans believed was the gateway to hell—could doom millions of people in the Naples area if it erupts,... More »

To Flee Mob, Italian Museum Seeks Asylum in Germany

Mafia threats spark plea for museum and staff

(Newser) - The director of a Naples museum is urging Germany to grant asylum to the museum and its staff seeking to flee the mob. Antonio Manfredi says the contemporary art museum has been plagued by vandalism and threats from the local Mafia. The museum has put on exhibitions dealing with social... More »

Scientists Will Drill Deep Into Active Volcano

Critics fear move may endanger nearby Naples

(Newser) - Italian scientists plan to drill 13,000 feet into the heart of an active volcanic field outside Naples. The Campi Felagria—believed by the ancient Romans to be the home of Vulcan, the god of fire—last erupted in 1583 but has been showing signs of unrest over the last... More »

Police: Coffin Wood Fuels Naples Pizza Ovens

Cops believe grave robbers supply pizzerias

(Newser) - Unscrupulous pizzeria owners in Naples may be giving their pizzas that unique wood-fired taste by using cut-rate wood from coffins dug up by a gang of grave robbers, police say. "A real suspicion hangs over pizza—one of the few remaining important symbols of the city—that it could... More »

Cops Hunt Man After Wife, 5 Kids Found Slain

Mesac Damas may have fled to Haiti

(Newser) - Police are hunting a man whose wife and five children were found slain in their Florida home, reports CNN. The bodies of Guerline Damas, 32, and kids aged 11 months to 9 years were discovered by police after they were contacted by relatives. Investigators believe Mesac Damas, 33, may have... More »

'Mob Sewage' Closes Capri's Blue Grotto

(Newser) - The famous Blue Grotto of the Italian island of Capri has been closed after its striking cerulean waters were fouled by raw sewage believed to be dumped by the Mafia, reports the Independent. La Grotta Azzurra, a favorite haunt of the Roman Emperor Tiberius, is celebrated for its striking waters... More »

Nigerian Gangsters Wage Turf War on Mob in Southern Italy

Turf battles erupt as newcomers seek foothold in lawless southern Italy

(Newser) - African immigrants are being caught in the crossfire as Nigerian gangsters battle the Italian mob for control of southern Italy's drug and prostitution rackets, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Camorra once treated African criminals as useful subordinates, but vicious turf wars have erupted as the newcomers seek a bigger... More »

Writer Marked by Mob to Flee Italy

Mob wants author dead by Christmas

(Newser) - A best-selling author who has become a target of Italian mobsters is fleeing Italy, reports the Guardian. Writer Roberto Saviano, 28, has spent the last two years as a virtual prisoner in army barracks, surrounded by bodyguards protecting him from a Neapolitan mob family. Saviano's book, Gomorra, now an acclaimed... More »

Italy Calls In Shrinks for Garbage Crisis

Berlusconi dispatches psychologists as part of promise to clean up mess

(Newser) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has a “final solution" to Naples' trash problem—and it includes psychologists, Der Spiegel reports. Naples, whose overflowing landfills have led to intermittently trash-choked streets for years, will soon be invaded by an army of volunteers, including a group of psychologists trained in counseling... More »

'Super' Mafia Witness Gunned Down in Naples

Slain informant was helping cops bust garbage gangs

(Newser) - The boss of a garbage disposal firm with Mafia links who had turned informant was gunned down in a bar near Naples yesterday, the Guardian reports. The murdered man had been helping police target gangs that control waste disposal in the city, currently gripped by a garbage crisis. He had... More »

Trash Fires Blaze Across Naples

Firefighters working overtime as angry residents burn excess garbage

(Newser) - The prolonged garbage impasse in Naples has taken a new turn as angry residents began setting fire to thousands of tons of waste littering city streets. Firefighters were at work all night battling at least 90 burns across the city, AFP reports. “Every six to seven minutes, one of... More »

Naples' Trash Tops Berlusconi's To-Do List

Incoming Italian PM says he'll be in garbage-strewn city three days a week

(Newser) - Silvio Berlusconi said today his first task as Italy's prime minister will be to clean up garbage-strewn Naples, the BBC reports. After a clear victory for his center-right coalition in this week's elections, the 71-year-old media tycoon promised to spend three days a week in the city and to "... More »

Prized Cheese in Italy at Risk

Toxins found in mozzarella after years of illegal trash dumping

(Newser) - More consumers are turning up their noses at Italy’s prized buffalo mozzarella, and not over its smell, the New York Times reports. Toxins have been found in samples of the delicacy, likely caused by illegal dumping of garbage around Naples. Sales are down 40%, and farmers and restaurateurs fear... More »

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