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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February 2005
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"Italian Over-30s Staying at Home and Loving It!"


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"Buon Giorno e Buon Anno!" Welcome to the only newsletter in Italy that declares that cheese sandwiches with the images of religious figures are just sandwiches prepared from very religious toasters, "Only In Italy!"

Dear Sir,

Unfortunately, I am not receiving your anticipated newsletters...for at least 2 months! I am apparently still on your subscription list, but for some unexplainable reason, not receiving your news. I really looked forward to your witty, candid, and informative information and would do just about anything to receive your newsletter (kidding, actually!).

I would appreciate any and all help in this matter. You will enjoy a rainbow-filled future, Mrs. Carlisi

Thanks for your warm letter, Signora Carlisi, and for your offer to do anything to receive it.

All of us at the news staff sincerely appreciate all the great letters we have received these past two months regarding the absence of our often criticized newsletter.

Life had been a little difficult for our poor little web site and newsletter. We never thought it would be difficult researching, writing and distributing stories on this beautiful and confused land called Italy while, at the same time, avoiding angry Italian politicians, victims of past news articles, radio DJs, hackers and lawsuit threats.

Well, we've made it through thanks to a couple of religious experiences and you! It looks like it will be a rainbow-filled future alla Siciliana!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Italian Over-30s Staying at Home and Loving It

Many Italians stay at home to maintain a standard of living assured by their parents.

Rome - January 31, 2005 - Italians growing weary of being stereotyped as overly dependent on their mothers got no help from government statistics showing more than 1/4 of Italians in their early 30's still live with their parents.

The state-run National Research Center said that between 1990 and 2000, the rate of people aged 30-34 still living at home rose from 14 percent to 27 percent.

"That's the trend, there's no doubt that it would be the same for the last few years as well," Adele Menniti, the center's official in charge of family studies, said Monday.

According to the center, sons linger on more than daughters: 36.5 percent compared to 18.1 percent. The figure appeared to perpetuate the cliché of Italian "mammoni," or sons who depend on maternal care well into adulthood.

Italians' reluctance to leave home is often explained by difficulties finding a house or a job, or of maintaining the same standard of living assured by their parents.

Now, as the trend increases, even people who have financial independence are reluctant to leave home, said Menniti. "In Italy one leaves home only when one gets married," she said.

The research also showed that 90 percent of Italians aged between 20-24 live at home, compared with 80 percent in 1990.

"Hey Mamma! What time do I eat?"

This cute and cuddly story is dedicated to all parents who work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.

"Second place may be good enough for some Italian women, but relationships have come asunder from boyfriends who insist on bringing 'mamma' along on vacations." 'Mamma' does a better job of applying the suntan lotion, getting sand out of the swimming trunks and distracting your girlfriend while you try to pick up another.

"Many young men live at home with parents until their late 30s because it is less acceptable to live with someone and raise a family out of wedlock."

"Fact: Italy is projected to actually lose 10 percent of its population by 2050." This will be the result of breast-feeding children till the age of 30.

"For most Italian single men, inviting a girlfriend home is a dangerous affair: If the visit is not planned carefully, they run the big risk of bumping into the other woman in their lives, their mother."

"Italian relationships are not what they used to be. Both men and women have become unreliable." Recent statistics back up that argument. When asked if they betray their partner, 70% of men and 64% of women pleaded guilty.

"In a small village in the southern province of Salerno, local authorities promised to give parents $12,000 for every newborn." Despite the bribe, so far, only one child has come to light. And besides, there is not enough cash under the table to convince you the "terrible twos" is just a phase they'll grow out of.

"Many Italian parents discourage their children from working while at university because it may give the impression that they are needy." Parents are now working at the pizza counters, delivering groceries and bussing tables.

"Every Friday in Rome, marketing analyst Federico Rutiliano packs up his laundry and for $6 sends it by bus nearly 500 km to Bari, his hometown in southern Italy. There his mother washes and irons his Valentino shirts and on Sunday afternoon sends the package back to Rome in time for the next workweek." Any Italian named Federico who wears $150 Valentino shirts and lives in Rome should be beaten senseless every time he goes near a bus station with dirty laundry.

In conclusion, we would like to apologize if this story has offended you in any way. If it would make you feel better to pour your kids' breakfast over their heads, then please, go ahead.


"Stop Taking All That Medicine" Premier Writes to Italians

Pole satisfied. Democrats of the Left (DS) say they will return leaflet. Spending on medicines increased by 9.8% in the first nine months of 2004.

Rome - January 30, 2005 - "Dear Italians, taking too many medicines is bad for your health and bad for public spending. Let's avoid waste and health risks". Worried because people take too many medicines, and about the cost to the public purse, Silvio Berlusconi has put pen to paper to write to Italians again, after his letter on the Euro. He will send it to 16 million households, together with a leaflet issued by the Ministry of Health and illustrated by cartoonist Giorgio Forattini.

Yesterday, the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore announced the premier's initiative, an anti-waste campaign that began with television ads and will end with the distribution over the next few days of the letter, which contains 40 close-packed lines of paternal admonitions. The announcement was made on the day when Italy's pharmaceutical expenditure figures were published, showing an increase in 2004 over 2003 of 9.8%. The breakdown shows 48.1% of the total was spent on medicines to treat cardiovascular diseases, 35% sustained by the Italian health service.

LETTER AND TV ADS - The leaflet offers practical advice and information. Pills and syrups should be used with caution. Care should be taken over where and how medicines are kept. You shouldn't stockpile and you should keep an eye on the use-by date.

TOO MANY HOARDS - Comments and replies started to arrive at once in the shape of protests, declarations of support, smiles and flurries of anger. The Federfarma association expressed approval, as did Farmindustria. Federfarma president Giorgio Siri went so far as to put Italy's 16,000 pharmacies at the disposal of the campaign, which could mean displaying posters in pharmacy windows. Approving comments arrived from the House of Freedoms, particularly the Northern League and Forza Italia. Surprisingly, Mr. Berlusconi's letter was greeted favorably by Antonio Di Pietro. The president of Italy of Values acknowledged the "more or less electoral" aims behind the initiative, but said he shared them. "It's true that in Italy we misuse drugs, and there is a bad habit of filling homes with medicines when there is no real need. This is due to the fact that many medicines are free, and people tend to hoard needlessly".

RETURN TO SENDER - But center-left politicians voiced strong dissent. The DS announced that its members will send the letter back. "Sick people take medicines to get better. Waste and hoarding has nothing to do with ordinary people. A mistaken health policy is to blame", said Livia Turci (DS), who wanted to know how much of the money used to send the letters will be diverted from other purposes that are more useful to citizens.

GENERIC MEDICINES - It is not just opposition politicians who criticize Mr. Berlusconi's initiative. Mario Falconi, president of the FIMMG family doctors' association, responds, "It is simply not true that medicines are misused. On the contrary, I would congratulate Italians on consumption levels, which are among the lowest in Europe". The Observatory for the Third Age asks that the introduction of mini-packs should be followed up by genuine efforts to reduce waste, and hospital internists are talking about simplistic generalization. President Ido Iori stated, "I said to myself that the premier is using his role to make considerations that are typical of the uninformed". Mariolina Iossa

"Too Many Medicines!", Premier Writes.
"You Have Too Much Free Time!", Italians Respond.

It's no surprise that the Italian public health care system doesn't work.

Italians abuse the system: Some Italians own medicine cabinets that are as large as walk-in closets. And tourists who visit Italy have no need to worry if they can't locate an open pharmacy. Knock on the door of any senior citizen's home and you'll find them popping and pushing pills like "Tic Tacs".

Doctors abuse the system. They are always paid in cash and, if you're lucky to get an appointment, they'll examine you from the balcony of their villa.

However, we will certainly be doing our part to satisfy the overly-concerned prime minister. One of our staff writers who goes to monthly electroshock therapy has decided to interrupt his sessions for the benefit of the nation.

As a matter of fact, he sounds a little bit down today. Maybe he'll go suck on a battery.


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Rome Cracking Down on Self-Made Tour Guides

Rome - January 30, 2005 - Crime scenes are rarely as charming as the one in front of the Trevi Fountain on a recent clear and crisp afternoon. Blue sky framed the white marble sculptures; couples posed for pictures and tossed wishful coins into the water.

And in a dark corner of the otherwise sunny square, Ali Emrah Unlu stood casing the late Baroque fountain and pointing its treasures out to an enthralled group of 40 tourists. Finally, the undercover officers had seen enough, and swooped in.

"Show me your tour guide license," said Lt. Michele Galante, 60, sporting dark sunglasses and opening his jacket to flash a badge.

"What? I'm not a guide," said Unlu, a 30-year-old Turk. "I wasn't telling them anything about the place. I don't understand what you're saying, I don't speak good Italian," he said, speaking in good Italian.

Galante snatched an identity card from Unlu's hand and ushered him inside an unmarked car, where he yelled at him with the windows rolled up.

"This time we're going to give you a ticket," Galante said when they emerged. "Next time, we're hauling you in."

Rome has declared war on illegal tour guides. Its 1,200 authorized guides are fed up with the outlaws, who, according to city authorities and guide associations, take a sizable chunk out of the tourism industry, which is Rome's largest.

"It is a big problem," said Mario Maranelli, the president of Rome's tour guide association, who estimated that illegal guides cut into about 50 percent of the market. "They don't respect anything, the law, taxes, prices. They are a real stick in our wheels."

Authorized guides have to pass a test on a broad swath of the Eternal City's long list of cultural treasures, and they say unlicensed and uninformed guides are a blot on their erudite image.

Several unlicensed tour guides complained the test amounted to a crude protectionist measure securing Italians plum jobs. They said that rather than adapt to the demands of the market, by learning English for example, Italian guides and authorities had instead opted for dirty tactics to take out the competition.

"Rome is a city of the world; it doesn't belong to just Italy," said Unlu, maintaining his innocence as he reluctantly signed the paperwork for his fine at the Trevi Fountain.

"They cannot behave like this. It's not fair."

"Si, I mean no!"
"I don't a speak a good English and Italiano!"

As Italians, we must declare that we are very ashamed and embarrassed of the way Mr. Ali Emrah Unlu was mistreated. While it is true that when one hears such a name the first impulse one gets is to put their hand over their wallet and run for the Roman hills but that is neither here nor there.

Instead of embracing the will, experience and capabilities of a multilingual unlicensed foreign tour guide, we are treating him like a terrorist. Quite frankly, if the Roman authorities feel so threatened by such harmless petty criminals then why don't they drown them in the Trevi Fountain in front of their tour groups or throw them in the Roman Coliseum and let them battle it out with certified tour guides to the death. But, then again, that is neither here nor there.

The advantages of hiring a multilingual unauthorized unlicensed foreign tour guide in Rome:

1.) They actually speak English!
2.) They'll show you what the Roman government doesn't want you to see.
3.) They'll teach you a mini course on how to avoid getting your pockets picked with live demonstrations.
4.) They'll show you how to avoid the $8,000 horse carriage rides through Rome.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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