CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The astronauts circling Earth have gotten another VIP call from Rome.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano phoned the shuttle-station complex Monday morning. Two days earlier, Pope Benedict XVI called.
Napolitano spoke with the two Italian astronauts, Paolo Nespoli and Roberto Vittori. The two held up an Italian flag that will return to Earth with Nesopli in just hours. Vittori received the flag from the president to mark the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification, and flew it up on shuttle Endeavour.
The president asked Nespoli whether he could see the gondalas and Grand Canal of Venice. Nespoli said by using a zoom lens, he could see ferries, but no gondalas. Nespoli is ending a five-month space station mission.