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

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
A man was fined for climbing Rome's Trevi fountain, Italian media reported on Tuesday. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Italy's Senate gives first approval to electoral reform bill, appellants bring injunction against Messina Strait bridge project, man fined for climbing Trevi Fountain, and more news from around Italy on Wednesday.


Italy's top story on Wednesday:

The Italian Senate on Tuesday approved the first draft of a controversial constitutional reform bill that seeks to overhaul the country's electoral system and system of governance.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called her 'premierato' policy - which would award the prime minister's party or coalition an automatic majority in both chambers - "the mother of all reforms", arguing that it's necessary to reintroduce political stability to the country. Critics say it risks concentrating too much power in the hands of one individual.

The bill must now pass three more readings (for a total of twice in each chamber), before being put to a public referendum.

Representatives of Italy's main opposition parties, including the centre-left Democratic Party, the Five Star Movement, the Left and Green Alliance, and +Europa, all of which oppose the reform, held a rally in Rome's Piazza Santissimi Apostoli on Tuesday to defend 'the Constitution and national unity', Skytg24 reported.

Class action lawsuit brought against Messina Strait bridge project

Over one hundred people have brought a class action in Rome in a bid to halt the construction of a bridge connecting the island of Sicily to mainland Italy, arguing that the project is unconstitutional and unfeasible, Il Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The dream of building a bridge over the Strait of Messina dates back decades, with Silvio Berlusconi's government backing the plan in the early 2000s - but critics say it's highly impractical, at risk of mafia infiltration, and a waste of public funds that would be better spent on improving existing infrastructure.


Italy's Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini insisted in April that construction on the bridge would begin by summer 2024; but the company responsible for completing project has since requested an extension that would push the timeline back by at least four months.

The appellants' complaint reportedly alleges a lack of transparency and the violation of multiple domestic and EU regulations, noting that previous environmental evaluations found that the strait sits on an earthquake fault line.

Italy's agricultural output down due to climate crisis

Italy's agricultural output dropped by 1.8 percent in 2023 due the effects of the climate crisis, the country's national statistics agency, Istat, said on Tuesday.

Wine and fruit production were particularly badly hit, falling by 17.4 percent and 11.2 percent respectively, the agency's data showed.

Italy experienced an average of 11 extreme weather events per day in the first half of 2023, with severe ramifications for the country's farming sector, according to Italian agricultural association Coldiretti.


The island of Sicily has been under a state of emergency for drought since February of this year, devastating the region's crops and threatening its livestock industry.

Man fined for climbing Trevi Fountain

A 27-year-old Ukrainian man was fined €1,000 by police for climbing Rome's historic Trevi Fountain, news site Roma Today reported on Tuesday.

A video of the incident posted to the instagram account Welcome to Roma shows the culprit being chased for several metres by police before being tackled to the ground by a tourist.

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A post shared by Welcome to Roma (


Every summer, Italian authorities struggle to contain a wave of vandalism from foreign visitors set on leaving their mark on the country's historic sites.

Earlier this month, a Dutch man was reported to police for using a black permanent marker to scrawl graffiti on a frescoed Roman wall at the archaeological park of Herculaneum, and last year a video of a tourist carving his name on the Colosseum sparked national outrage.



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