Queen Elizabeth visits the Vatican. April 3, 2014. Photo by AP Photographer Gregorio Borgia for Mozzarella Mamma
“I think she is going to be wearing baby blue,” said AP Television cameraman Gianfranco Stara said to me as he stood at the door of Piazza Grazioli 5 outside the AP offices in Rome waiting for a taxi to arrive. He was heading to Rome’s Quirinale Palace to cover yesterday’s visit of Queen Elizabeth to Rome. “No, no, it is going to be mint green, I am sure of it, I said as I headed into the building.
What is going on with all these leaders coming to Rome? Obama must have come for the good food last week, and I think the Queen has popped in this week for a bit of the beautiful Roman sunshine we are having these days.
“It is Lilac!!” came the text message from Gianfranco a little while later.
Yes, her Royal Highness came to visit and had lunch with Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. I was not actually covering this event myself because I was busy with something else which I will explain shortly, so I will just give a brief summary based on the excellent reporting of by AP wire colleague Daniela Petroff.
The Queen and President are old friends and apparently he put on a super lunch for her. I will give you the menu in Italian because I can’t manage to translate it into English. Here it is: Risotto alle Erbe, Angello arrosto con contorno di millefoglie di patate, sformatini di caponata e fagiolini al vapore, bonet di cacao, amaretti e liquore. (maybe one of my foodie blogger friends can translate it into English properly)
The Queen was enjoying herself so thoroughly at lunch that more than two hours passed and she managed to be 20 minutes late for her appointment with Pope Francis. “Sorry to keep you waiting, we were having a pleasant lunch with the President” she reportedly told Francis. Ha!!! I love that. Only a Queen could get away with saying that to a Pope.
The three (The Pope, The Queen and The Duke) then retired to the Pope’s library for a private chat. The talk lasted only 20 minutes (compared to the 52 minutes with Obama last week).
After the private talk it was time for gifts. Last week Obama gave the Pope seeds from the White House vegetable garden. Not to be outdone, the Queen arrived with a wicker hamper of items “from my garden”…which the Vatican statement said were “products coming from the Royal properties.” The hamper had honey, jam, eggs and apparently the Pope looked slightly surprised when the Duke of Edinburgh pulled out a bottle of Balmoral Whiskey from the Scottish Estate.
The Pope then gave the Queen a present for “el ninetto” — her new grandson Prince George of Cambridge. It was an orb made of Lapis Lazuli with a silver cross on top.
I was not covering the visit of the Queen because I had been invited to speak to a group of students at Loyola University in Rome. I was impressed by this group of young, serious Americans. In my talk to them I tried to explain that as an Agency journalist I cover a vast range of subjects from earthquakes to Papal elections. I find that I am never an expert on anything and need to approach all my reporting with total humility assuming that my interlocutor knows more than I do. A journalist needs to seek information from everyone from the taxi driver to the Cardinal, from the immigrant arriving on the shore of Lampedusa to the powerful politician in Rome. I gave the students a piece of advice for anyone interested in becoming a journalist. The new generation of journalists have to be able to do it all. Certainly being able to write is not enough. One has to write, take photos, edit photos, shoot video, edit video, transmit stories, connect cable for a liveshot etc.
I gave the students a multiple choice Trivial Pursuit quiz based on some of the stories I have covered during my 20 years working as a journalist based in Rome. I will copy it below for anyone who is interested in taking a shot at it. The answers are at the bottom. All the questions are related to stories I have covered personally.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUIZ ON STORIES I HAVE COVERED
(Lots of the Answers can be found on earlier blog posts)
1. Who is/was the youngest Prime Minister of Italy on entering office?
a. Alcide De Gasperi
b. Matteo Renzi
c. Silvio Berlusconi
d. Giulio Andreotti
2. How many Italian Prime Ministers have served since President Obama was elected in 2008? (see post President Obama in Rome)
3. What is the total number of representatives in the Italian parliament (lower house and Senate) compared to the US House and Senate?
a. Italy 500//US 1000
b. Italy 535//US 945
c. Italy 945//US 535
d. Italy 300//US 500
4. Who is Cecile Kyenge and why is she important? (see Blog Post: Courageous Cecile)
a. The head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization based in Rome
b. An Italian track runner originally from the Congo
c. Italy’s first black Minister
d. A prominent Italian journalist
5. Who gave Berlusconi his bed as a gift?
a. Francesca Pascale
b. Pope John Paul II
c. Bill Clinton
d. Vladimir Putin
6. Who is Ruby Heart-Stealer?
a. A Russian undercover agent
b. A Morrocan prostitute
c. A gold-medal olympic gymnast
d. A member of the Italian parliament
7. How many US Ambassadors serve in Rome at one time?
8. What did the 2009 Aquila earthquake measure on the Richter Scale and how many people died?
9. What is an “inchino” — and why was it the cause of the Costa Concordia shipwreck? (see blog post “Bitterness, Tears and Scars on the Island of Giglio“)
a. A mixed drink with Gin and Chinotto that Captain Schettino was drinking the might of the shipwreck
b. A Moldavian dance that was being performed on the ship that Captain Schettino left the bridge to go watch
c. An instrument that measures the depth of the sea that broke on the ship
d. An illegal manoeuvre used by some ship captains of nearing a shore and making a bow to the land
10. In October 2013 a ship sank off the Coast of Italy leaving hundreds of dead. What island were those people trying to reach and why? (see blog post Into the Deep Blue Cemetery)
a. Lampedusa, they were immigrants in search of a better life
b. Giglio, they were on vacation and tried to escape the ship when it caught fire
c. Sardinia, the boat began to skip and people tried to escape to safety
11. In 2003-2004 Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was restored prompting controversy and fighting among Italy’s best restorer’s — what was the fight about?
a. concern that the David should fall apart under restoration
b. fighting over which methods would be least intrusive — cleaning versus dusting
c. the costs of the restoration
d. fighting about whether or not tourists could continue to visit the David during the restoration process
12. What company paid millions of dollars for the restoration of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling completed in the early 1990s?
d. Nippon TV
13. What Vatican restoration project is taking years and requires the restoration of 140 statues and 284 columns? (see blog post “Restoring Greatness“)
a. St. Peter’s Basilica
b. Bernini’s Colonnade
c. The Vatican Gardens
d. Castel Gandolfo
14. If you have to interview a Cardinal do you call him Eminence or Excellence and should you kiss his hand when you meet him?
a. Call him Eminence and kiss his hand
b. Call him Excellence and do not kiss his hand
c. Neither one. Call him “Cardinal” and shake his hand
15. Who are the “gentiluomini” (see blog post: “Cocktails, Spike Heels and Skullduggery“)
a. Men chosen from the European nobility to serve the Pope for a lifetime
b. Vatican diplomats sent to hotspots around the globe
16. Pope John Paul II is credited with sparking a major geo-political change — what was it?
a. Giving the Solidarity movement the moral support to take on the communist government in Poland
b. Bringing down the Soviet Union
c. Helping to End the Cold War
d. All of the above
17. How many trips outside Italy did Pope John Paul II take?
18. How many days of mourning are required for a Pope?
19. What is a Sede Vacante? (see Blog Post: “The Last Day of Pope Ben XVI“)
a. An empty chair
b. What the Vatican is called in the period after a papal death and the election of a new Pope.
c. A special stamp issued by the Vatican after a Papal death
20. How many US Presidents kneeled together and prayed before the body of Pope John Paul II
a. 4 (Obama, Bush Father, Bush Son, Clinton)
b. 1 (George W. Bush)
c. 3 (George Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton)
d. 2 (Obama, Clinton)
22. Which Pope had solar panels put on the roof of the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican to lower the Vatican’s “carbon footprint”
a. Pope Benedict XVI
b. Pope John Paul II
c. Pope Francis
23. Why did Benedict XVI’s Butler lose his job? (see Blog post: “The Pope’s Butler Did It“)
a. He spilled red wine on the Pope
b. He stole money
c. He leaked secrets and documents to the press
d. He was linked to a plot to kill the Pope
24. What is IOR and why is Moneyval a headache for it managers?
a. IOR is a charitable organization run by the Vatican and Moneyval is a group of Vatican accountants
b. IOR is the Vatican company that collects the money paid by tourists entering the Vatican and Moneyval is the Vatican bank machines
c. IOR is the Vatican Bank and Moneyval is the EU organization that controls money-laundering and financing of terrorism
25. Who is the man who works for one Pope and lives with another? (see Blog Post: “The Vatican Heart-Throb“)
a. The Pope’s doctor
b. Mons. Georg Ganswein, The Prefect of the Papal Household and former Secretary of Benedict XVI
c. The Pope’s Butler Paolo Gabriele
d. The Pope’s Secretary Mons Alfred Xuereb
26. How many followers does the Pope have on his English twitter handle @Pontifex?
a. 3.87 million
b. 5 million
c. 1 billion
27. Whose feet did Pope Francis wash on Holy Thursday during his first weeks as Pope? (see Blog Post: “Powerful Gestures“)
a. Priests’ feet
b. Feet of members of the Papal Household
c. Juvenile delinquents
d. Immigrants’ feet
28. Who wrote the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with the powerful quote:
“Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion…”
a. Pope Paul VI
b. Pope Benedict XVI
c. Pope John Paul II
d. Pope Francis
29. Where does Pope Francis live inside the Vatican? (see blog post: “The Revolutionary Pope”)
a. Santa Marta Residence
b. The Papal Apartment
c. The Sistine Chapel
d. The Apostolic Palace
30. Which Italian region hosted the American soap opera “The Bold and Beautiful” in 2012? (see blog post: “The Bold and the Beautiful Land in Italy“)
31. Which American singer sang at Circus Maximus during Rome’s Gay Pride celebrations in 2012 and made some waves over at the Vatican with her comments in the “Defense of Love”? (see Blog Post: “From Pope Benedict to….“
b. Lady Gaga
d. Miley Cyrus
32. Which of these prominent Italian entertainers/athletes have been accused and/or convicted of evading taxes?
b. Sophia Loren
c. Designers Dolce and Gabbana
d. Valentino Rossi
e. All of the Above
33. In What year did the Venice Film Festival begin. who was the leader in Italy at that time and what was the original purpose of the festival? (see Blog Post: “Gorgeous, Glamourous, Fascinating Venice.“)
a. 1943, Benito Mussolini, propaganda
b. 1972, Giulio Andreotti, to compete with Cannes Film Festival
c. 1987, Amintore Fanfani, to please his wife
d. 1995, Silvio Berlusconi, to promote his own film company Medusa
CRIMES AND COURTS
34. Did the Judge join the jury to make the final verdict in the Amanda Knox trials?
35. What did Amanda Knox have in her bathroom in prison that you do not find in a women’s prison in the US?
a. A mirror
b. A Bidet
c. A hair-dryer
d. A hydro-massage
36. Where did seven-time Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti go on trial for Mafia association in 1998, how long did the trial last and was he convicted or acquitted?
a. Milan, 3 years, convicted
b. Perugia, 1 year, acquitted
c. Rome, 10 years, convicted
d. Palermo, 6.5 years, acquitted
37. What are the names of the three Mafia organizations operating in Italy?(see Blog Post: “The Catholic Church and the Mafia.”)
a. Gomorrah, The Mafia, Yakuzi
b. Camorra, Cosa Nostra, ‘Ndrangheta
c. Medellin, the Corporation, Khun Sa
38. Who is Mario Balotelli?(see Blog post: “Mario Balotelli Forever“)
a. An Italian olympic runner
b. A prominent Italian priest who has lead the fight against the Mafia by teaching sports to children in areas dominated by the Mafia
c. An Italian politician
d. An Italian football star
39. Who was the famous Formula One race car driver who died in an accident on 1994 in Imola, Italy.
a. Michael Schumacher
b. Ayrton Senna
c. Valentino Rossi
d. Lewis Hamilton
40. In what year–if any– of the past 20 has Italy won the World Cup?
1. B. MATTEO RENZI
2. A. 4 – BERLUSCONI, MONTI, LETTA AND RENZI
3. C. ITALY 943//US 535
4. C. ITALY FIRST BLACK MINISTER
5. D. VLADIMIR PUTIN
6. B. A MORROCAN PROSTITUTE
7. C. 3 – THE AMBASSADOR TO ITALY, THE AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN AND THE AMBASSADOR TO THE UN AGENCIES -FAO, WFP, IFAD
8. A. 5.9 ON THE RICHTER SCALE, 297 PEOPLE DIED
9. D. AN ILLEGAL MANOEUVRE CALLED A “BOW” IN ITALIAN
10. A. LAMPEDUSA, IMMIGRANTS IN SEARCH OF A BETTER LIFE
11. B. FIGHTING OVER WHICH METHODS WOULD BE LEAST INTRUSIVE
12. D. NIPPON TV
13. B. BERNINI’S COLONNADE
14. C. NEITHER ONE, CALL HIM CARDINAL AND SHAKE HIS HAND
15. A. MEN CHOSEN FROM THE EUROPEAN NOBILITY TO SERVE THE POPE
16. D. ALL OF THE ABOVE
17. C. 104
18. A. 9 – THE ARE KNOWN AS THE NOVENDIALES — NINE DAYS OF MOURNING FOLLOWING THE FUNERAL MASS
19. B. WHAT THE VATICAN IS CALLED WHEN THERE IS NO POPE
20. C. 3 GEORGE BUSH SENIOR, GEORGE W. BUSH AND BILL CLINTON
22. A. POPE BENEDICT XVI
23. C. HE LEAKED SECRETS AND DOCUMENTS TO THE PRESS
24. C. IOR IS THE VATICAN BANK AND MONEYVAL IS THE EU ORGANIZATION THAT CONTROLS MONEY LAUNDERING
25. B. MONS GEORG GANSWEIN
26. A. 3.87 MILLION
27. C. JUVENILE DELINQUENTS
28. D. POPE FRANCIS
29. A. SANTA MARTA RESIDENCE
30. C. PUGLIA
31. B. LADY GAGA
32. E. ALL OF THE ABOVE
33. A. 1943, BENITO MUSSOLINI, PROPAGANDA
34. A. YES
35. B. A BIDET
36. D. PALERMO, 6.5 YEARS, ACQUITTED
37. B. CAMORRA, COSA NOSTRA, ‘NDRANGHETA
38. D. AN ITALIAN FOOTBALL STAR
39. B. AYRTON SENNA
40. C. 2006