Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
An exhibit from 2023 Milan's Salone del Mobile. This year's exhibition opened on Tuesday. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP.

Earthquake shakes Siena, Turin introduces smoking ban, Milan design fair opens, and more news from around Italy on Wednesday.


Italy's top story on Wednesday:

3.4 earthquake shakes Tuscany’s Siena province

A 3.4-magnitude earthquake shook the Siena province, central Tuscany, on Tuesday evening, Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said on X. 

The quake, which occurred at 7.49pm local time, did not result in any damage but caused “panic” among residents, Tuscany’s president Eugenio Giani said.

The epicentre was located four kilometres east of Poggibonsi, in the Siena province, at a depth of around 8.3 kilometres, according to the INGV.

The area is not new to tremors as a 3.5 quake struck the city of Siena, which is famous for its artistic heritage and the Palio horse race, last February, causing local museums, schools and universities to close for a day.

Italy's PM sues again for defamation

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has embarked on yet another defamation suit after an Italian court on Tuesday approved her case against a historian who called the far-right leader a "neo-Nazi at heart".

81-year-old Luciano Canfora made the remarks at a high school debate in the southern Italian city of Bari in April 2022, six months before Meloni's Brothers of Italy party stormed to power in a historic election.

Canfora told journalists from the AFP news agency that he stood by his comments, noting that in Meloni's 2021 autobiography she wrote of having "taken up the baton" of Italy's post-war far-right leaders. The Brothers of Italy is the political descendent of the Italian Social Movement, founded by supporters of Mussolini after World War II.

"When you say neo-Nazi, you don't think of someone who is perpetrating crimes, or murders, you think of someone who still has some ideas, some mental attitudes that hark back to the past," Canfora told AFP.

Meloni has previously brought defamation suits against Italian anti-mafia journalist Roberto Saviano and the lead singer of the British rock band Placebo, among others. The trial against Canfora is set to start on October 7th.


Turin bans smoking within 5m of others

The northwestern Italian city of Turin has introduced a ban on smoking within 5 metres of other people in outdoor spaces without their express consent, Italian news outlets reported on Tuesday.

Turin Mayor Stefano Lo Russo described the rule as "common sense", saying it was "about respecting those who don't smoke and is also a way to promote a culture of mutual respect."

The ban applies to electronic as well as ordinary cigarettes, and carries a 100 euro fine. Turin's urban police code already prohibits smoking around children and pregnant women.

City councillor Silvio Viale, who proposed the measure, said it would "contribute to reducing the impact of smoking, which remains the main cause of medical and oncological diseases. and encourage more conscious consumption."

Cool weather forecast

Temperatures across Italy are set to drop from Wednesday as a cold weather front moves in from Scandinavia.


Mercury levels could drop by as much as 15C (59F) in parts of the country, according to local weather reports, with rain and even snow forecast in some areas.

Scattered thunderstorms with possible hail are expected in the northeast and later the south of the country, while snow is anticipated at altitudes of above 1,000m in the Appenines around Tuscany and Molise and in the Alps.

Meteorologists say the cooler weather could last throughout the second half of April.

Milan design fair opens

Milan's iconic furniture design fair, the Salone del Mobile, opened on Tuesday, with shapes and fabrics inspired by the natural world and social responsibility and sustainability a major theme.

This year's event has a focus on "natural fibres and recycled ones, materials that meet high standards of sustainability as well as design and functionality," Salone head Maria Porro told AFP.


Around 1950 exhibitors are featured at the fair, one third from outside Italy. Last year's exhibition attracted over 300 visitors from 181 countries, AFP reported.

A main attraction is two identical "thinking rooms" designed by US filmmaker David Lynch, which a visitor must pass through to enter the main exposition.


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