Why Italy is mulling wine classes for schoolchildren

Plans that could see children aged between six and 13 taught about Italian wine in schools across the country are being mulled by the government.

Why Italy is mulling wine classes for schoolchildren
Will wine be on Italy's national curriculum soon? Photo: Juanpedraza

The proposals, which have been laid out in a draft bill, would see schoolchildren spend one hour a week learning about Italy's thriving wine industry as part of the national curriculum.

The plan was put forward by Dario Stefàno, from Italy's Left Ecology and Freedom party.

“We're not trying to teach kids to drink – although even if we were it wouldn't be so bad,” Stefàno told Il Fatto Quotidiano.

“It's been shown that knowledge creates responsible drinkers. But this is just an extra subject that will enrich the education of our students. We make children study music in school without expecting them to become musicians.”

The bill is still in its early stages and will need to complete a lengthy legislative journey through parliament before becoming law.

If successful, the subject of wine will be introduced to the national curriculum and taught for one hour a week – the same amount of time children spend studying music and religion.

Alternatively, it could be incorporated as modules into existing subjects such as biology, history and geography.

It is predicted that the cost of training teachers to educate students about wine would not exceed €12 million.

“I've put the idea out there and it's been met positively,” Stefàno said.

“I'll be sitting down to talk to [education minister] Stefania Giannini and [agriculture minister] Maurizio Martina about the idea very soon,” he explained, adding the new subject could be given a trial run in some Italian regions as early as September.

“Puglia and Veneto have already expressed an interest, so too Lazio and Umbria. There's not one region in Italy that doesn't make wine – it is a defining feature of our country.”

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?