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Ten good things that happened in Italy in 2016

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Ten good things that happened in Italy in 2016
10:36 CET+01:00
2016 has been a tumultuous year in Italy and around the world. But here are some of the 'good news stories' of the year, to remind us that it wasn't all bad.

Italy opened its first wine fountain in October

Tourists watch red wine flow from the fountain. Photo: Dora Sarchese Vineyard

A refreshing glass of red wine is just want you need at the end of a long walk. And the next best thing? It's completely free. The fontana del vino is located in Caldari di Ortona, in Abruzzo, along a popular pilgrimage route, the Cammino di San Tommaso. The Ortona fountain is not the first in Italy to offer wine, but its creators describe it as the country's first 'proper' wine fountain, because the wine will be accessible every day. Add it to your 'must do' list for 2017!

A cat sanctuary beach exists

The cats are purr-fectly fine around people. Photo: I Gatti di Su Pallosu

In May we discovered that a cat sanctuary exists on a remote Sardinian beach. The beach, where visitors can play with kitties in the surf or watch them lounging on the sand, was even named one of the island's best tourist destinations by travel website, TripAdvisor.

“People love cats and they love beaches too, so it's a recipe for success,” Andrea Atzori, who founded the non-profit sanctuary with his wife in 2011, told The Local at the time.

A puppy saved from Italy's quake rubble will train as a rescue dog

Terremoto the dog will now train to help rescue others. Photo: Enpa

Italy suffered three major earthquakes this year, with the one on August 24th killing 300 people, destroying towns and leaving thousands displaced. But there were also some heartwarming tales, such as the one about the puppy, named Terremoto, who was saved from the rubble days after an earthquake in Norcia on October 30th, and who is now in training as a rescue dog. 

A postcard from an Italian prisoner of war sent during World War II finally got delivered 

Photo: Valentina Romano/The Local

A postcard sent by an Italian prisoner of war from a Nazi labour camp in 1944 was finally delivered, following a series of strange coincidences which led to a high school teacher stumbling across the card on the street.

"I don't know if it's a case of 'being in the right place at the right time'," teacher Valentina Romano told The Local in October.

"But it was very emotional to find the postcard. When I saw the stamp with the Nazi eagle, I got goosebumps."

We learnt that pasta won't make you gain weight!

Photo Wei-Duan Woo/Flickr

If you'd banished pasta from your cupboard due to concerns over weight gain, then think again: an Italian study found that the more pasta you eat, the less likely you are to gain weight.

The world's oldest woman celebrated her 117th birthday

Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Emma Morano, from Verbania in northern Italy, celebrates her 117th birthday in November, making her the last known person alive who was born in the 19th century.

... And we learnt that cheese, wine and friends are the keys to a long life 

But you might have to move to Sardinia and adopt the local diet, which includes Cannonau, a red wine packed with antioxidant compounds which help slow the aging process, in order to be in with a chance of eclipsing 100.  

Two former nuns who fell in love during a mission were among the many finally able to make their love official, after civil unions were legalized

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The pair tied the knot in September in Pinerolo in Piedmont, northwestern Italy, in a ceremony officiated by mayor Luca Salvai, from the Five Star Movement.

Some of us learnt Italian, and found it has a range of surprising benefits 

Did you learn it for the people.. or for the food? File photo: Pexels

Italian leapt to fourth place in terms of the most-studied languages worldwide. The number of foreigners studying rose to 2,233,373 in the 2015/16 academic year - up from 1,700,000 the previous year. 

Italians made the world's longest pizza

It took 250 chefs more than six hours to make the pizza. Photo: Naples' Pizza Village

The world's longest ever pizza, measuring a whopping 1854 metres, was made in Naples back in May.

There were medical advances

File photo: Pexels

The Molinette hospital in Turin said earlier this month that it had achieved a world first by successfully transplanting a kidney in the place of the spleen in a six-year-old girl. The child had been on dialysis since birth because of a rare kidney anomaly and a malformation of the abdominal blood vessels.

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