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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sex ban for fireworks fans in Italy
Naples, Italy - Men in Naples will have to make do without sex if they insist on going out to play with fireworks this New Year's Eve.
That's the tough love message from Se Spari, Niente Sesso (No Sex for Fireworks), a group that claims to have signed up hundreds of women supporters in recent days.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Italy New Years Celebrations and Festivities: Prosecco or Champagne Toast?
New Years Eve in Italy is a day of family gatherings, celebration, and festivities filled with food, drink, and lots of music, dancing and singing among family and friends. From Milan to Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, and all the town and villages in Italy you may hear the sound of fireworks and the pop of…Prosecco.
Although Champagne is the reigning king of the New Year’s Eve pop, Italy’s Prosecco makers from the Veneto region feel they have finally arrived to the party as well.
Prosecco arrived in the United States around 1984, and since then has enjoyed exponential growth. The United States has become the biggest importer of the sparking wine from steep-hilled villages surrounding Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in Italy’s Veneto region. Today, about 60 percent of all prosecco — some eight million cases — comes from producers outside the traditional prosecco-growing region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, a cluster of villages about a half-hour’s drive north of Venice. The newcomers are not held to the same strict production standards as the traditional producers, which are tightly governed under Italian wine laws.
With its fresh flavor, pleasing bubbles and gentle price tag — it typically sells for $10 to $20 a bottle — prosecco has gained many fans worldwide. Global sales have been growing by double-digit percentages for 10 years, to more than 150 million bottles last year. And with consumers in an economizing mood this holiday season, prosecco is an increasingly popular alternative to Champagne, which has been soaring in price.
A host of producers elsewhere in Italy and as far away as Brazil are trying to cash in on the drink’s newfound popularity. Because prosecco is the name of a grape, like chardonnay or cabernet, anyone can use the name.
The region’s turn of fortunes, though, is relatively recent. Although prosecco grapes have been cultivated here for three centuries, in the early days they were made mostly into still wine for local consumption. The vines shared the steep hillsides with more valuable cows and sheep.
It was only after a new method for producing sparkling wine became widespread in the mid-1900s that things began to change.
Champagne and other sparkling wines typically get their bubbles when they are fermented a second time, with added sugar and yeast. The yeast feeds on the sugar and converts into alcohol and carbon dioxide. When the bottle is opened, the escaping gas gives the wine its bubbles and characteristic “pop.”
Champagne re-ferments in bottles, an expensive and labor-intensive process. But the new production methods allowed prosecco makers to re-ferment their wine in large tanks, a process that kept prices down. That, and prosecco’s light, delicate flavor and low alcohol content, made it an especially versatile wine.
IN Italy, prosecco is enjoyed year-round — and practically around the clock. “The only moment we don’t drink it is for breakfast,” Mr. Giustiniani says.
That approachability has helped propel the popularity of prosecco — in the 1960s throughout Italy, in the ’80s in Germany and neighboring countries and in the ’90s in the United States, which today is prosecco’s No. 1 market outside of Italy.
THE threat of foreign-brand prosecco has prompted northern Italian producers, of both D.O.C. and I.G.T. prosecco, to work together to protect their turf. They say they believe that their proposal will raise quality and prevent others from calling their products prosecco.
The plan would create a broad new D.O.C. designation to govern the hundreds of I.G.T. prosecco producers that have sprung up across eight northern Italian provinces in the plains from Treviso to Trieste. The producers would have to comply with strict quality controls, including lower yields per hectare and stronger oversight.
The region of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, meanwhile, would be elevated to Italy’s highest designation for wine regions, known as D.O.C.G.
The key is to link prosecco to its traditional home.
“We don’t want to end up with something like pinot grigio,” says Primo Franco, owner of the Nino Franco winery in Valdobbiadene, referring to another white wine grape from the Veneto region that today is grown around the world.
Because prosecco is also the name of a northern Italian village where the grape is believed to have originated, the consortium can make an argument, too, that prosecco is a place name that can be protected just like Chianti, Champagne and others.
By bringing all of northern Italy’s prosecco makers into the fold, the winemakers hope to do more than give prosecco a territorial identity. They also want the muscle power to meet growing demand and achieve their goal of matching or even besting Champagne, which today produces some 300 million bottles a year. About 150 million bottles of Italian prosecco are produced a year.
So this New Year’s Eve the happy people living around Conegliano-Valdobbiadene will be smiling and toasting the New Year and their new growth plans to double production to match and hopefully overtake Champagne’s 300 million bottles sold annually.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Butcher of Panzano Dario Cecchini - Antica Macelleria Cecchini
Dario Cecchini is known as the Butcher of Panzano, which is located in Chianti near Greve, in beautiful Tuscany.
The Cecchini family in Panzano have been the butcher's of Panzano for 600 years. For six centuries and continuing today under Dario "the Magnifico" Cecchini the Antica Macelleria Cecchini has butchered meet for the world's most famous and fed the most famous in its restaurant.
It is said Dante Aligheri loved to eat here and Leonardo da Vinci was inspired to paint the Mona Lisa after eating the meat butchered by the Cecchini family.
In his book Heat, Bill Buford observed Dario Cecchini is not just a butcher he is a Museum of Tuscany.
WebVisionItaly visited the Macelleria Cecchini and ate a very nice 'pranzo' on the Tuscan hill side. The weather was gorgeous in October and so while we give thanks and enjoy Christmas traditions with family and prepare for the New Year festivals we must include one Italy's great family traditions - Dario the Magnifico - Butcher of Panzano - in our thoughts this Christmas. Preparing wonderful lamb, Bistec Fiorentina etc etc.
Dario prepares cuts of meat in the greatest of Tuscan traditions, which date back to before the Renaissance and Medici family recipes written in books, to when recipes were shared orally from one Tuscan generation to the next. Dario learned to cut by mentoring with a family friend of his own father the butcher after he passed away. When in Chianti a visit to Dario Cecchini's Macelleria and a meal in the restaurant is a must see in Tuscany.
Click to view WebVionItaly's video interview with Dario Cecchini - Butcher of Panzano.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Rome New Years Eve
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Rome Christmas - St. Peter's Square Nativity Scene Presepi Vatican
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Quake shakes Italy near Parma
An earthquake of 5.1 magnitude struck northern Italy on Tuesday near the city of Parma. No damage or injuries were reported. The quake shook the area for about 20 seconds.
The earthquake was unusually strong for northern Italy and was felt from the financial capital Milan to Florence to Trieste.
Startled Italians jammed telephone lines after the quake and train service was briefly interrupted on some lines, local media reported.
The US Geological Survey, which estimated the earthquake's magnitude at a slightly higher 5.3, said it struck at a depth of 28.9km. It ranks quakes in this range as moderate.
For more news and information about Italy visit WebVisionItaly.com
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Galileo's library recreated - Volumes that formed his personal collection on show
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Beckham "on Loan" from Galaxy in Italy for Medical
Beckham is due to be officially presented on Saturday while he watches Milan's clash with Udinese.
Beckham could begin playing with AC Milan January 11 for Milan at AS Roma, but he will only be available until March 8 when his loan period ends and he will return to Los Angeles Galaxy for the star
t of the new Major League Soccer season in the US.
"We've overcome problems that were infinitely bigger than when we buy a player," he said of the loan deal.
Beckhm and AC Milan will begin winter training December 29 in Dubai.
After the physical it was announced the former Manchester United player captain and Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham will wear the number 32 jersey for his new club AC Milan.
Italy's poor to eat contraband caviar on Christmas
ROME (AP) — Some homeless people in Italy will be savoring beluga caviar this Christmas, thanks to officials who seized 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of the contraband delicacy from smugglers.
The caviar has been given to Italian charities to be served alongside the traditional foods they feed the poor on Christmas — like lentils, pasta and cake — officials said Saturday.
Italy and many other countries ban beluga caviar — often the most expensive variety — in hopes of saving the dwindling population of sturgeon who produce the salty eggs.....
Friday, December 19, 2008
Florence Christmas Market
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Guide Books about Tuscany, Umbria, The Marches
2008 WebVisionItaly.com Editor's choice 2008 Top Guide Books about Tuscany, Umbria, The Marches:
The Green Guide Tuscany-Michelin
Tuscany & Umbria Best-Loved Driving Tours-Frommer's (2002)
Umbria-Touring Guide of Italy
The Marches-Touring Club of Italy
Tuscany, Umbria and The Marches- Cadogan guides
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Delta Airlines: Detroit - Rome
Delta Airlines Detroit Rome
Delta putting pressure to Colaninno's Alitalia CAI investor group - Toronto and Mid West Routes?
ATLANTA, Dec 16, 2008 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX)-- Delta Air Lines' customers can now book convenient nonstop flights between Detroit Metro Airport and Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport for service beginning on June 4, 2009*.
The flight will make travel to the Eternal City more accessible through Detroit's 115 easy connections and will complement Delta's existing nonstop daily service between Rome and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and twice daily nonstop from New York's John F. Kennedy-JFK International Airport.
For more about Italy visit www.WebVisionItaly.com.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Giro d'Italia 2009 Route Announced
Giro d'Italia route announced
The route for the race, which celebrates its centenary this year, was unveiled on this weekend in Venice. The cycling event will take place from 9-31 May and include five mountain stages and a time trial on the Ligurian coast.
The race usually finishes in Milan, but for the centennial event it will reach its climax in the capital. Milan will host the finish of the ninth stage and Mount Vesuvius in Naples will be the site of a mountain stage two days before the finish in Rome. The route will also pass through several points connected with the Giro's history, and cover many of Italy's biggest cities - Venice, Milan, Florence, Bologna and Naples. It will also venture into the French Alps during the 10th stage, which will begin and finish in Italy.
This year's winner Alberto Contador announced in October that he would not be taking part in next year's event but former winners Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni are set to race again.
The only question remains is will Lance Armstrong bike race in 2009? Planning on travel to Italy, check the Giro out May and June 2009 on your 2009 spring holiday in Italy.
Parmigiano Reggiano Bailout
Parmigiano Reggiano, Italy's King of Cheese, is in trouble. Robust in flavor and crumbly, it is a classic of Italy's artisan food traditions, made by hand by 430 craft producers around the city of Parma. But , press reports almost a third of producers say they face bankruptcy. Italy's Minister of Agriculture, Luca Zaia is promising to buy 100,000 Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, and also 100,000 of its less costly competitor, Grana Padano.
Is this Italy's big cheese bailout?
The government will munch up 3 per cent of production at an estimated cost of €50m (£44.7m) and distributing it to the needy. Each 35kg wheel of Parmigiano costs between €8 and €8.50 to make, but the wholesale price has declined for the past four years even as the cost of milk and energy has soared.
"We just need a bit of time to reorganize ourselves," said Giorgio Apostoli of Coldiretti, Italy's agriculture lobby. "This is a historic product with an ancient tradition. There ought to be policies to safeguard those who produce it."
But Professor Giuliano Noci, of the Milan Polytechnic, said a better solution would be for the government to "launch a sustained marketing campaign in the emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia and India, to educate consumers to appreciate the quality" of the cheese.
Click for more video about Parma Italy.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Italy Christmas - Verona
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Italy Christmas-Presepi Naples Italy
Friday, December 12, 2008
Venice Italy Books
Harry's Bar, The Life and Times of the Legendary Venice Landmark by Arrigo Cipriani (1996)
A Thousand Days in Venice, an Unexpected Romance by Marlena De Blasi (2002)
Venice Lion City,The Religion of Empire by Garry Wilis (2001)
The Perfect House, A Journey with the Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio by Witold Rybczynski (2003)
Palladian Days, Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House by Sally Gable with Carl I. Gable (2005)
Venetian Dreaming by Paula Weideger (2002)
Vaporetto 13 by Robert Girardi (novel 1997)
Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands (2003)
My Venice by Harold Brodkey (1998)
Venice Observed by Mary McCarthy (1963)
A Venetian Affair by Andrea di Robilant (2003)
Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands (2003)
Guide Books Venice
Strolling Through Venice : The Definitive Walking Guidebook to “La Serenissima" by John Freely [various]
A Sentimental Guide to Venice by Diego Valero
Access Florence, Venice, Milan by Richard Saul Wurman
For Venice video click WebVisionItaly.com.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Rome, Florence Venice all with high water - 'acqua alta'
(ANSA) - Rome, December 11 - Torrential rain throughout the night created havoc in the Italian capital and by Thursday morning city officials were telling residents to keep their movements ''to the minimum possible''...
The downpours were part of a vast storm front sweeping the country which has already dumped heavy snow in the northern mountains and isolated almost all the islands off the western coasts...
Venice this morning was flooded yet again with the 'acqua alta' (high water) 105cm above normal during the morning high tide. The phenomenon is expected to return with the evening high tide with waters possibly running as much as 130cm above normal.
The Tiber River and is tributaries were all close to overflowing north of Rome as were other rivers north of the capital, including the Arno in Florence....
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Italy Books: General Interest Books about Italy Book List
Italy, A Love Story - Women write about Italian Experiences by Camille Cusumano (2005)
Spezzatura, 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World by Peter D’Epiro and Mary Desmond Pinkowish (2001)
Speaking the Language like a Native by Aubrey Menen (1962)
Italy Out of Hand, A Capricious Tour by Barbara Hodgson (2005)
Sophia Living and Loving: Her Own Story by AE Hotchner (1978)
Route 66 A.D.- On the Trail of Ancient Rome by Tony Perrottet (2002)
Una Storia Segreta, The Secret History of Italian American Evacuation and Interment during World War II by Lawerence Di Stasi (2001)
The Proud Italians, Our Great Civilizers by Carl Pescosolido and Pamela Gleason (1995)
An Italian Journey by Jean Giono (1953)
Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino (1956)
Baudolino (a novel) by Uberto Eco (2000)
The Last Italian, Portrait of a People by William Murray (1991)
The Giro d'Italia by Dino Buzzati (1981; 1999)
Italian Journey's by WD Howells (1867; 1999)
50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World by Peter D'Epiro and Mary Desmond Pinkowish (2001)
Dances With Luigi, A Grandson's Search for His Italian Roots by Paul E. Paolicelli (2000)
Italian Pride 101 Reasons to be Proud You're Italian by Federico and Stephen Moramarco (2000)
Marcus Aurelius,The Emperor's Handbook by C Scot Hicks and David Hicks (2002)
Saint Augustine by Gary Wills (1999)
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant (2003)
Infinite Variety, The Life & Legend of the Marchesa Casati by Scot Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino (1999)
The Italian American Reader by Bill Tonelli (2003)
Touring Italy-Touring Club Italy
Italy out of Hand-Barbara Hodgson(2005)
Mission Italy-Richard Gardner(2005)
Italy-Travelers’ Tales- various authors
Straddling The Borders - The year I grew up in Italy by Martha E. Cummings (1999)
Books about Tuscany, Umbria, The Marches
Books about Tuscany, Umbria, The Marches
Vanilla Beans & Brodo, Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany by Isabella Dusi (2001)
Bel Vino, a Year of Sundrenched Pleasure Among the Vines of Tuscany by Isabella Dusi (2004)
Francis of Assisi, A Revolutionary Life by Adrian House (2000)
A Tuscan Childhood by Kinta Beevor (1993)
After Hannibal by Barry Unsworth (novel 1997)
Valley in Italy, The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria by Lisa St Aubin De Teran (1994)
The Collected Traveler Central Italy Tuscan & Umbria Anthology by Barrie Kerper (2000)
The Umbrian Cities of Italy by JW &AM Cruickshank (1907)
Pietro's Book,The Story of a Tuscan Peasant by Pietro Pinti & Jenny Bawtree (2003)
Pasquale's Nose, Idle Days in an Italian Town by Michael Rips (2001)
A Vineyard in Tuscany, A Wine Lover’s Dream by Ferenc Mate (2007
The Hills Of Tuscany, A New Life in an Old Land by Ferenc Mate (1998)
A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi (2004)
Bella Tuscany,The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes (1999)
A Garden in Lucca, Finding Paradise in Tuscany by Paul Gervais (
A Companion to Lucca by Andreas Prindl (2000)
In Maremma, Life and the House in Southern Tuscany by David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell (2001)
Notes from an Italian Garden by Joan Marble (2000)
Living in a Foreign Language, A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy by Michael Tucker (2007)
Mother Tongue, An American Life in Italy by Wallis Wilde Menozzi (1997)
Straddling the Borders, The Year I Grew Up in Italy by Martha T. Cummings (1999)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Books about Italy: Contemporary Italian Politics
Contemporary Italian Politics
The World From Italy, Football, Food and Politics by George Negus (2002)
A History of Contemporary Italy, Society and Politics 1943-1988 by Paul Ginsborg (2003)
Italy and Its Discontents, Family, Civil Society, State: 1980-2001 by Paul Ginsborg (2003)
The View From Vesuvius, Italian Culture and the Southern Question by Nelson Moe (2002)
An Italian in America by Beppe Severgnini (1995)
The Italian Way, Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes and Customs of the Italians by Mario Costantino Lawrence Gambella (1996)
The Crisis of the Italian State: From the Origins of the Cold War to the Fall of Berlusconi and Beyond by Patrick McCarthy (1997)
The New Italians by Charles Richards (1994, 1995)
The Italians, A Full-Length Portrait Featuring their Manners and Morals by Luigi Barzini (1964)
Monday, December 8, 2008
Book about Florence
Book about Florence
The Monster of Florence, a True Story by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi (2008)
Heat...apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford (2006)
Cafe Life Florence: A Guidebook to The Cafes & Bars Of The Renaissance Treasure by Joe Wolff (2005)
The Food Lover's Guide to Florence: With Culinary Excursions in Tuscany by Emily Wise Miller (2007)
The Civilized Shopper's Guide to Florence by Louise Fili (2007)
The Renaissance by Paul Johnson (2000)
Florence, A Delicate Case by David Leavitt (2002)
Brunelleschi's Dome, How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King (2000)
Leon Battista Alberti, Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance by Anthony Grafton (2000)
Il Gigante, Michelangelo, Florence and the David by Anton Gill (2002)
Dante by RWB Lewis (2001)
Dante In Love, The World’s Greatest Poem and How It Made History by Harriet Rubin (2004)
Giovanni Boccaccio Famous Women edited and translated by Virginia Brown (2001)
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel (1999)
Niccolo's Smile, A biography of Machiavelli by Maurizio Viroli (1998)
A Room With a View by EM Forster (1908)
Florence Guide Book:
Access Florence Venice Milan by Richard Saul Wurman
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Where do the Italians Live in Italy?
Italians are gravitating towards 14 urban areas in the country to make their homes, Censis observed in its study on lifestyle trends.
According to the report, six out of ten Italians, or 36.4 million people, now live in these areas, which make up 17% of the country's surface area. Censis identified the mosty popular areas:
- Lombardy and Veneto,
- six cities (Turin, Rome, Verona, Naples, Palermo and Cagliari),
- four coastal strips (Liguria, the upper and lower Adriatic coasts and the eastern coast of Sicily) and
- two other 'territorial belts' in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
ELIGIBILITY FOR ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
ELIGIBILITY FOR ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
As you may have heard, some Americans of Italian descent qualify for Italian citizenship. The eligibility guidelines appear below.
Italian citizenship is based on the principle of ius sanguinis (blood right) by which a child born of an Italian father or mother is Italian. However, a descendant of a mother-citizen, previously unable to pass on Italian citizenship, can obtain citizenship if born in 1948 or later as a result of the election that year when Italians choose to convert from a monarchy to a republic.
Today, Italian citizenship is regulated a 1992 law. which, unlike the previous law, re-evaluates the importance of individual desire in the gain or loss of citizenship and acknowledges the right to hold citizenship in more than one country, except in the case of the various provisions of international agreements.
DETERMINATION OF QUALIFICATION FOR ITALIAN CITIZENSHIP
If you were born in the United States, you may be eligible for Italian citizenship if any of the following situations pertain to you:
A. Your father was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth and you have never renounced your Italian citizenship, provided your father was not naturalized before your birth.
B. Your father was born in the U.S. and your paternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your father’s birth, and neither you nor your father ever renounced Italian citizenship, provided your paternal grandfather was not naturalized before your father’s birth.
C. You were born after January 1, 1948, you have never renounced your Italian citizenship, and your mother was an Italian citizen at the time of your birth, provided that your mother was not naturalized before your birth.
D. Your were born after January 1, 1948, your mother was born in the U.S. and your maternal grandfather was an Italian citizen at the time of your mother’s birth and neither you nor your mother ever renounced Italian citizenship, provided your maternal grandfather was not naturalized before your mother’s birth.
Click here to visit the website of the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC, for additional details www.ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/ambasciata_washington.
For more about Italy click here to visit the Italian Broadcasting Company television network about Italy, Web Vision Italy.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Naples nativity scene row solved
(ANSA) - Naples, December 3 - Barack Obama was once more on show in nativity scenes along Naples' 'presepe' street Wednesday night after a day-long row over unlicensed Christmas vendors.
Shoppers and tourists were aghast to find the medieval Via San Gregorio Armeno - a mecca for presepe-lovers - shut down after a heavy-handed police attempt to remove unauthorised open-air stalls.
All the presepe sellers pulled down their shutters in solidarity with the stall-keepers, who hold a Christmas market at one end of the street each year dressed in traditional shepherd garb......
Other new entries are Carla Bruni, Nicolas Sarkozy and two Italian cabinet members whose reforms have made waves, Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini and Civil Service chief Renato Brunetta.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Alitalia relaunch delayed to after Christmas
December 2 2008 ROME, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Italian airline Alitalia's relaunch by a group of Italian businessmen will be delayed until after Christmas to prevent travel disruptions during the peak holiday season, Italy's industry minister said on Tuesday.
He did not specify a date when Alitalia will officially operate under the CAI investor consortium's ownership, but the administrator overseeing the airline's bankruptcy said he would ensure Alitalia keeps flying until Jan. 12.
"The start of the new Alitalia will be after the Christmas vacations to avoid the most congested holiday period," Industry Minister Claudio Scajola told reporters in Brussels.
"I don't see any major problems if it becomes operational after 10 to 15 days. With all the problems we've had, this is definitely the least of them."
The deal with CAI was initially set to be wrapped up by Nov. 30, but the administrator, Augusto Fantozzi, delayed it until Dec. 12 citing technical reasons.
A source close to the matter had said CAI was unable to deliver the funds for its 427 million-euro ($539.9 million) purchase of Alitalia's best assets before then.
A new government decree allows the transfer of Alitalia's assets to CAI to be delayed beyond Dec. 12, but under the condition that all costs, risks and losses related to Alitalia are borne by CAI during the transition period.
The two sides have agreed CAI will pay 24 million euros to cover Alitalia's obligations between Dec. 1 and Dec. 12 and then pay 14 million euros weekly until it takes over. ($1=.7908 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini in Brussels and Deepa Babington in Rome; Editing by Greg Mahlich)