All our posts on Italian context

Perugia’s Exceptional Uni And Economy May Have Made RS And AK Feel Small Frogs In Big Pond

Posted by Peter Quennell



[Multi-millionaire success story Brunello Cucinelli and, below, his Perugia-area factory and a typical store]


Few crime specialists seem to see the pattern of the attack against Meredith as being absent of intense anger.

There is no way that attack represents the pattern of a lone burglar or for that matter of a single perp of any kind. The Supreme Court already KNOWS that and they know that at first appeal the Knox and especially Sollecito lawyers tried desperately to prove that two or three other perps were there, either with Rudy Guede (witness Aviello) or without (witness Alessi).

For months now, apparently unnoticed by the FOA sheep, the defenses have been sounding absolutely feckless in the face of the juggernaurt prosecution appeal submitted to Cassation by Perugia’s chief prosecutor Dr Galati.

We’re betting that if they had it all over they would have urged Knox and Sollecito to take the short-form trial and one of the olive branches offered by the prosecution (that it was a sex-based attack which went too far, not an intentional preplanned murder).

They could have entered known facts about Sollecito and Knox to show that at the least they had tin ears and had always been callous, jealous and quirky. They might have advanced a drug-based excuse - the other olive branch advanced by the prosecution was that they were on cocaine and not marjuana that night and cocaine can induce rages leading to murder.

They might also have advanced the notion that both AK and RS were being remorselessly frozen out by their peers, who increasingly looked down on them, not least of course Meredith whose sleep and studies were constantly disrupted by the thoughtless, sharp-elbowed Knox.

Consider first who were their peers. Perugia is a city of driven high performers and it may not be the most comfortable environment for low-performing layabouts. In its own small way it is about as hustling as Manhattan.

It is one of the brightest cities in Europe with an extremely high median IQ. It is one of the top-performing cities in the Italian economy, in part because of the advanced scientific research at the very large university, and in part because it is the home to some brilliant international entrepreneurs.

Both these faces of Perugia are constantly in the Italian news. A search of the past week’s news for the university turns up reports on medical and mathematical and space-science breakthroughs and as usual a number of international conferences in the works.

And a search of last week’s news for Perugian businesses turns up for example this report on Brunello Cucinelli the highly sucessful and innovative fashion-goods entrepreneur who is now talking of doubling his factory.

Sollecito was never really a part of either. He had few friends and no girlfriends, he was a year or two behind his age-group in his studies, and he needed his back watched at all times - though from his book it is obvious that he felt needled by his highly successful doctor-father.

And Knox arrived with poor Italian despite all the claimed studies back in Seattle, she took on only a light and unimpressive study-load (compare Knox’s to Meredith’s) and she was rapidly shedding friends and the goodwill of her tolerant, well-meaning employer.

Neither had a credible and impressive career path in mind, and for that matter, still don’t. It is tough enough to know you are not making it, that can induce in many quite a rage.

But it is even tougher when all your peers around you notice it, and in American street parlance you get to feel “dissed”.












Why Perugia Is At Less Risk Of Earthquakes Than Its Neighbors

Posted by Peter Quennell


See Perugia and you will agree. Any earthquake damage to this truly wonderful town would be a great tragedy in itself.

Here was our previous post. Now an American expert has made public the finding that Perugia is very unusually kind of riding the waves, which explains why it has not seen a major earthquake in 2000 years.

U.S. researchers say they’ve determined some slow-moving faults may help protect some regions of Italy and other parts of the world from earthquakes.

University of Arizona postdoctoral researcher Sigrun Hreinsdottir said until now, geologists thought when a crack between two pieces of the Earth’s crust was at a very gentle slope, there was no movement along that particular fault line.

“This study is the first to show that low-angle normal faults are definitely active,” Hreinsdottir said.

Assistant Professor Richard Bennett, who led the study, said scientists can now “show that the Alto Tiberina fault beneath Perugia is steadily slipping as we speak—fortunately, for Perugia, without producing large earthquakes.”

Perugia is the capital city of Italy’s Umbria region.

Creeping slowly is unusual, Bennett said. Most faults stick, causing strain to build up, and then become unstuck with a big jerk that translates into a big earthquake.

Hreinsdoottir and Bennett say they have shown the gently sloping fault beneath Perugia is moving steadily at the rate of approximately one-tenth of an inch a year.

They said Perugia has not experienced a damaging earthquake in about 2,000 years because the fault is actively slipping and might not be collecting strain.

“To have an earthquake, you have to have strain,” Hreinsdoottir said.  The research appears in the August issue of the journal Geology.


Walking Around Perugia Is Going To Get A Little Easier

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Tamtam is reporting that Perugia is to get two long-haul escalators, up to the high level of the walled city.

One will be from the parking facility (Saint Anthony) directly above Meredith’s house to this high-point of the walled city - scroll down for those beautiful steps that it will in effect complement or replace.

And the other will be up to the university’s main campus, below where Sollecito and Guede lived, from the busy via Pascoli deep in the valley below.

Good news for walkers on the hot days Perugia has just seen, and good news for car-parkers as well - it should relieve even more the relatively small volume of vehicles that enter the central piazza area during the day.

That above is obviously not one of the Perugia escalators - it is actually at 120 meters the present longest escalator in the world measured vertically. It is at the new Park Pobedy station in Moscow.

With its autostradas and railway and buses and new monorail and very fast ring-roads, Perugia is already really easy to get to and around.

Nothing beats walking within the walled city though. Check Corso Vanucci any evening to find out.


Perugia Is Now Seeing One Of Its Periodic Heat-Wave Emergencies

Posted by Peter Quennell



[click for larger image]

Temperatures hit 40 degrees Selsius (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit) several times each summer.

Perugia is essentially a non-air-conditioned city and it would be technically very tough to convert. And moving around it involves a lot of walking up and down a lot of steep steps and steep streets.

If the heat stays that high for several days in a row, an emergency has to be declared. There are a lot of emergency municipal systems now in place to help the citizens to take care of it, and the Municipal Operations Center remains open throughout.

Fortunately the city population will be down by many thousands right now, as August is the main vacation month in Europe, and except for the summer schools the universities will largely be quiet. 

For those that choose to remain or that have to remain, they have been advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay indoors or in shaded and cool areas during the hottest periods, ventilate their homes by opening all shutters, take extra showers. And travel to nearby places where there actually is some air conditioning. 

The view above is of the south end of the walled city, the end away from from Meredith’s house. Some distance directly behind here is Capanne, and, much further away, Rome.

We don’t know if Capanne’s new prison is air-conditioned but Italy’s prisons are generally not. A cause for some not very effective complaining.