Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only In Italy is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy.
Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.
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"Blessed Be the Purse-Snatchers"


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"Salve, bella gente!" Welcome to another informative and lovely issue of "Only In Italy!"

To whom may concern I am interested in condos & single family homes in Sorrento and Naples, Italy. Can you be of any help in this matter. Thank you! John

Thanks for your letter, John.

If you are in search of a quiet, picturesque and romantic Italian city... Naples is not it (nor its filthy sister, Sorrento).

In Naples you will find chaos, pollution and a wonderful but putrid charm unique only to itself.

It is not uncommon to walk down the street and see an Italian family sitting on their table and chairs outside their front door crowding over a mobile phone and arguing.

The streets of Naples are fascinating, not only for the wacky people, but also for the random shops. Down Via S. Gregorio Armeno you will find shops back to back for the entire length of the road (and around the corner), selling tiny figures of people, clowns and chili peppers. For around 2 Euros you can buy the ultimate souvenir, Pulcinella, the idiot jester that represents Naples, morphed into a chili pepper, encompassing both Neapolitan representatives.

Tempting, isn't it?

Although being mugged and pick-pocketed in Naples can be a very frustrating and stressful experience, on the up side, the visit to the Naples Police Station almost makes up for it. It is just as you would expect an Italian police station to be shown as in a spoof film; papers are everywhere, all the officers smoke at their desks despite the walls being plastered with no smoking signs, every police man carries a large gun and there are many, many exaggerated shrugs and puzzled looks.

But if you're still decided on purchasing a home in this enchanted wonderland, prices run from 2500 to 4300 Euros per square meter in the old neighborhoods in the center of town. 6500 to 12,000 Euros a square meter for the exclusive neighborhoods by the beaches.

If you look hard enough, you'll find a better deal in the Vesuvius.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Home of the Holy Pickpocketers and Blessed Purse-Snatchers

Vatican - January 19, 2007 - The top crime neighborhood in the world isn't in Sao Paulo or Lagos. It's not the Bronx in New York, or even Wedding in Berlin. It's the small city ruled by Pope Benedict XVI, which apparently sees more criminal cases per capita than any other part of the world.

The Vatican's attorney general Nicola Picardi released the astounding statistic at the start of 2007: The tiny nation's justice department in 2006 had to contend with 341 civil and 486 criminal cases. In a population of 492, that measures out to 1.5 cases per person - twenty times the corresponding rate in Italy.

By this measurement at least, crime is soaring in the Vatican in spite of a security force that would put a police state to shame. The seat of the Catholic Church has one Swiss guard for every four citizens, not to mention museum guards and police assigned to the Vatican by Italy.

Picardi did say that most criminal cases were matters of pickpocketing or purse-snatching. The rest amounted to other petty crimes like fraud and forgery - committed not by kleptomaniacal nuns but by a handful of black sheep among the 18 million pilgrims and tourists who visit St. Peter's Cathedral, St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums every year. About 90 percent of these crimes go unpunished, which is not a measure of Christian mercy but a sign of the perpetrators' favorite method of escape. They can break for the border a few meters away to Italy.

Even if it did prosecute every pickpocket, the Vatican wouldn't have room in its jails for so many sinners, since it has no prison system. Criminals sentenced to prison in the Vatican have to serve time in Italy, with costs covered by the papal state.

Picardi releases similar alarming statistics almost every year, when he makes his annual report on the state of the Vatican's security. He'd like his country to join the Schengen Agreement, a 1985 treaty signed by EU nations to bring down border controls and allow cooperation among justice departments and police. Picardi would even like to promote cooperation between the Vatican and some non-EU nations. So far, though, he hasn't achieved either ambition.

Pope Benedict XVI recommended another strategy in a speech to Vatican security personnel. "Let us pray," he said, "for the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary." He may have been thinking of the weeks in April 2005 when Pope John Paul II was dying. A total of 6 million pilgrims arrived for vigils in St. Peter's Square, and not a single incident of pickpocketing was reported.

"Oh, Madonna Santa, il mio portafoglio?!" How can this be happening at the Holy See?

Of course the Vatican has a prison system. It was created by Pope Gregory IX when his mad holiness started the "Inquisition" in 1233 in order to beat the holy living daylights out of people accused of heresy or denying the Catholic faith.

The punishments assigned to the fiends ranged from sensitive beatings, being forced to visit churches and make pilgrimages, life imprisonment or execution by burning at the stake. Most of the beatings took place in the dungeons below the Vatican or at Castle Sant Angelo, just five minutes away on horseback.

The accused did not have the right to face and question their accuser and it was acceptable to take testimony from criminals and excommunicated people. As you can see, the Vatican initiated the first "witness protection program".

A persuasive component of the Inquisition was that it did not wait for complaints, accusations, or arrests to be made, but actively sought out so-called heretics, who included witches, diviners, blasphemers and members of other sects. Simply put, if you looked guilty, ugly, or both, you received a blessed beating.

The Vatican needs to return to zero tolerance. What do the Swiss Guards do other than standing around as if they were immobile from liquor?

There is nothing wrong if they endorse a little punishment. Take the pilgrims downstairs and poke them around for a while with those spears they carry around. Put the books in the Vatican library in order. Wash and iron the infinite amount of cardinal capes, scarlets and cassocks. And repeat offenders should have their backs stretched out just a tad on the "rack".

Cooperation will then hence forth from the pilgrims. Look at what happened to Galileo in 1633. The Vatican condemned him to indefinite imprisonment. That's what happens when you insist the earth revolves around the sun.

Now, we do not want to implore violence or abuse of holy power but just praying for the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary sometimes isn't going to help without a heavy hand from below.


Welcome to Naples and Its Salt Fair

Naples - January 19, 2007 - More than 350 producers of salt-related products are set to gather in Naples, Italy, to promote the compound's value to the world. May's SaltExpo 2007 will allow the world to honor salt in what organizer Fabio Fassone called an "event of cultural importance."

"The show will highlight all the different sides to this fundamental element of our diet," Fassone said, "exploring the psychological, magical and philosophical roles salt has played down through the ages and continues to play today."

Through a series of book presentations and conferences, the expo at the Naples' Mostra d'Oltremare complex will try to dispel various superstitions linked to the chemical compound.

The expo will celebrate salt's importance to the culinary world with training and performances by several top international chefs.

SaltExpo 2007 is scheduled to run May 3-6.

"Cacchio!" Do you need training and a performance from a top international chef for when a recipe calls for "a pinch of salt?"

They couldn't have picked a more perfect city to hold an expo about a dangerous mineral:

FACT: Overconsumption of salt and overstaying your Naples visit is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

FACT: When people wonder around Naples at night they get a fright, their nervous system is activated and they experience a rush of adrenalin. But people with high blood pressure experience a sustained increase in nerve activity when they consume dietary salt and wonder around Naples at night.

FACT: Research has produced new data to support the hypothesis that dietary salt and visiting Naples activates the brain in hypertension sufferers, producing sustained increases in nerve activity, or what is commonly called the 'fight/flight' response. When a Napolitano catches eye of your expensive wrist watch, your brain will activate the 'flight' response.

FACT: Despite the research so far, it is very difficult to understand why increased salt and police patrols in Naples increases blood pressure in people who have hypertension.

FACT: Since it is difficult to measure salt sensitivity and much of the salt in our diet is unnecessary, they say the best advice is to cut down and save lives. Since it is difficult to measure the amount of crimes committed in Naples and much of the unnecessary crime is committed by the Mafia (La Camorra), they say the best advice is to cut back your visit and save your life.

FACT: Saltiness is masked by sweetness and enhanced by bitterness and sourness, so adding a squeeze of lemon can make less salt taste stronger. The pickpocketers and purse snatchers are masked by sweetness but enhance bitterness and sourness on its visitors. So, inducing a double shot of grappa can make the experience less traumatic.


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Italian Gays Commemorate Suicide During Vatican Protest

Vatican - January 15, 2007 - A group of gay rights activists rallied near the Vatican Saturday to commemorate the suicide of a gay Italian man in St. Peterís Square nine years ago.

According officials, the group of a few dozen gathered on the edges of the square, carrying banners and waving rainbow flags, a symbol of gay rights movements.

They also protested the Vatican's interference in the affairs of the Italian state. "Less Vatican, more self-determination," read one banner.

Other banners urged Italy to offer legal recognition to gay and unmarried couples, an issue dividing the current center-left government and stoking tension between leftists and the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out repeatedly against marriage between homosexuals and legal protection for unmarried couples.

In Italy, where political and social developments are closely watched by the Vatican, Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government has pledged to work for legislation to safeguard rights for all unmarried couples, including same-sex ones.

The protest was organized by Arcigay, a leading Italian gay association.

Some Arcigay members laid flowers at the spot in St Peterís Square where writer Alfredo Ormando doused himself with petrol and set himself alight in 1998, in protest at the Vaticanís stance against gays. He died of his burns nine days later.

In his suicide note, Ormando wrote at length of how he felt rejected by the church and of the pain it had caused him.

All of us at the news office agree that this is an issue that is too controversial and complicated to handle. However; we are very concerned about how Italian gays are reacting to this issue.

It's very surprising to see gay rights activists rallying all over the country for a just cause. That's because Italy is home to the laziest homos.

Men in Italy are so effeminate (we're referring to heterosexual men now, forget about the gays). The Italian men over the years have become increasingly more effeminate. If you walk through the streets of Milan and you see some of these men "swishing" around you'll see what we're writing about.

The ancient sidewalks and streets of Rome you see have lasted for so long because Italian men float over them. They're all light in the feet.

Regardless of the way you walk; we certainly believe everyone should have equal rights, no matter who you are.

So, let them get married. Let them be in the same hell we all are.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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