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 2007
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"Using the Finger At Your Local Bank"


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"Che bella giornata!" Welcome to another issue of "Only In Italy", written by the most talented newsletter writers to ever drool on a keyboard.

Traveled to southern Italy and Sicily in the spring of 2006; Messina, Taormina, Sciacca, Agrigento, Cefalu, Sorrento, Cosenza, Marzi & Corleone, home of my grandfather. We were in Corleone 4 hours after Bernardo Provenzano was arrested and nobody was talking! We didn't find out about it till we returned to Sciacca and watched the TV news! Jackie

Thanks for your concern, Jackie.

Why were you surprised that the lovely people of Corleone did not talk? The town has 12,000 inhabitants and everyone is considered a suspect.

When you look at its criminal past, Corleone is a town that would be more than happy to disassociate itself from the rest of Italy. Sometimes the Corleonese feel Greenland is more a part of Italy than their town is.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Thief Caught After Leaving Photo of Herself

Turin - January 25, 2007 - An Italian burglar was caught after failing to steal a digital camera which she had used to take a picture of herself.

Lucia di Matta, 46, took jewellery and other valuables from a flat in Turin, but left the camera with her picture on it after she decided it was old and not worth stealing.

An Italian police spokesman said: "She put it down on a table without realizing that she had accidentally taken her own picture with it."

Police identified her after the owner of the flat came back to find the money and jewellery missing but the extra picture on his digital camera.

The woman was given a suspended sentence and ordered to return the money and valuables to her victim.

"Porca Puttana!" We don't have a photo, but for some reason, we picture Lucia with a body covered by hair.

Another exciting episode of the "Retarded Catwoman":

- Gets overwhelmed dressing herself.
- Gets confused by air.
- Knows very little. And what she does know, she will forget.
- You can explain the mission to her 900 times, still won't get it.
- Takes photos of herself...with her foot.


Romantic Berlusconi Amuses Italians Once Again

Milan - February 1, 2007 - "Dear Editor," began a letter published Wednesday on the front page of La Repubblica, the newspaper that Silvio Berlusconi hates most. The scalding letter demanded a public apology from Berlusconi and it was signed by his wife.

And so, a nation bored and a little down at its return to semi-normal politics woke to a truly juicy news cycle with an inescapable conclusion: In or out of power, Silvio Berlusconi may be reprehensible, but Italy cannot keep its eyes off him.

It turns out that the 70-year-old former prime minister, who recently had a pacemaker implanted, attended an awards ceremony last week and was overly friendly with two young and beautiful guests.

"If I weren't already married, I would marry you right now," he reportedly told one. And another: "With you I would go anywhere."

"These are statements I consider damaging to my dignity," wrote Veronica Lario, 50, who has been with Berlusconi for 27 years. She said his remarks could not be "reduced to jokes."

"To my husband and to the public man, I therefore ask for a public apology, not having received one privately."

In divining what this could mean, Italians barely knew where to start.

Feminists called it an overdue rallying cry to Italian women like Lario, who has endured years of supposed infidelity (and no end of crude sex jokes, as when Silvio Berlusconi opened a political conference by praising the legs of the women in the front row). Political analysts said Berlusconi, who wants a third turn as prime minister, could never again win the votes of women and so was finished.

Then in the early evening, Berlusconi, who can never be counted out, wrote his own public letter: "Your dignity does not matter: I will guard it like a precious material in my heart even when thoughtless jokes come out of my mouth," he wrote. "But marriage proposals, no, believe me, I have never made one to anyone.

"Forgive me, however, I beg of you, and take this public testimony of private pride that submits to your anger as an act of love. One among many. A huge kiss. Silvio."

In the end, it seemed an especially spicy episode in the long and complicated relationship not only between Silvio and Veronica, but between Silvio and Italy. The private drama of Italy's richest man, its shrewd, shady and irrepressible personification, became something public, possibly even relevant politically and psychically.

"We have for eight months a notably boring government," said Giuliano Ferrara, an editor and informal aide to Berlusconi, referring to the responsible and restrained stewardship of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who beat Berlusconi in elections last spring.

"And right now there is an explosion of strange and weird vitality, the heart that keeps on pumping. People miss very much that style. It's not healthy, but it's Italian."

Indeed, Italy's top three evening talk shows devoted their entire programs to an unusual public exchange of letters between a married couple. Beppe Severnigni, one of the most prescient commentators on Italian mores, quickly churned out a column for Corriere della Sera summing up its import.

"The man is a walking oxymoron, but it has not stopped him from working his way up," he wrote. "Why? Simple: because he embodies the Italian dream of being everything, of pleasing everyone (and indulging himself in everything), without giving up anything."

Perhaps all marriages are mysteries on some level, but the drama also shed light on one of Italy's most visible but ambiguous couples. They met in 1980, when he was a budding, and married, builder and she was a beautiful B-movie actress appearing in a play in Milan. He saw her onstage, the story goes, and fell deeply in love.

He left his first wife, married Lario and they had three children (he already had two).

He grew richer, entered politics in the mid-1990s, and the two seemed somehow together yet increasingly apart.

No small amount of his public persona was linked to his constant, earthy joking about women and his mastery of them, amid rumors that monogamy was not among his virtues.

"I lost my hair because I had too many girlfriends," he once said (he has since had implants).

Through it all, Lario remained largely silent, a fact she noted acidly in her public letter on Wednesday. "I chose not to leave space for marital conflicts, even when his behavior created reasons to do so," she wrote.

But not entirely: She made no secret over the years that her personal political views were more to the left than to her husband's right.

Maria Latella, an Italian journalist who wrote a biography of Lario, "Tendenza Veronica," recalled that during Silvio Berlusconi's first term as prime minister in 1994, a newspaper article appeared saying that every day he sent flowers to someone.

He contended they were to his wife. But Latella noted that Lario sent the newspaper a brief letter saying that, in fact, she never received flowers from Palazzo Chigi, the seat of government.

Lario also spoke candidly in the biography, saying that she rarely saw him but that she considered their marriage stable and herself "the perfect kind of wife for the kind of man Silvio is.

"He can concentrate on himself and his work knowing his wife won't create a fuss if he's away from his family," she said in the biography.

As fate would have it, on the very same day that Lario fired off her letter, part of an interview was published with her husband, also given to Latella for her magazine, A.

"She has never made me look bad, never, while the wives of certain other politicians," he said. "And then she is so indulgent. What more could I want?"

"Ahhh...Viva Silvio!" The Presidente of Pepperoni; our hero!

This is not the first time he has "pooped plenty" when opening his mouth.
Here is a selection of Berlusconi jaw droppers:

- At the launch of the 2006 campaign: "I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone." When he lost the 2006 elections by 24,000 votes, Jesus Berlusconi was quoted saying, "Father, forgive the Italians, for they know not what they do."

- At the Brussels summit, at the end of Italy's EU presidency, in December 2003: "Let's talk about football and women." (Turning to four-times-married German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.) "Gerhard, why don't you start?" What a way of blowing some sunshine up the German Chancellor's ass.

- On Italian secretaries (comments made at the New York stock exchange trying to entice a group of Wall Street executives to do business in Italy): "Italy is now a great country to invest in... today we have fewer communists and those who are still there deny having been one. Another reason to invest in Italy is that we have beautiful secretaries... superb girls." True! The superb secretaries will make you forget you're doing business with conscious-guilty ex communists.

- On himself: "I don't need to go into office for the power. I have houses all over the world, stupendous boats... beautiful airplanes, a beautiful wife, a beautiful family... I am making a sacrifice." This is dedicated to any of you who work hard for a living. Makes you want to pour your breakfast over your head, doesn't it?

- In the wake of September 11: "We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and - in contrast with Islamic countries - respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its value understanding of diversity and tolerance...

"The West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilization, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1,400 years ago." It has been said that everyone at the United Nations threw up simultaneously afterwards.

His response to worldwide condemnation of the above speech: "They have tried to hang me on an isolated word, taken out of context from my whole speech."

"I did not say anything against the Islamic civilization... It's the work of some people in the Italian leftist press who wanted to tarnish my image and destroy my long-standing relations with Arabs and Muslims."

- At a rally during the 2006 election campaign: "Read The Black Book of Communism and you will discover that in the China of Mao, they did not eat children, but had them boiled to fertilize the fields." Brilliant. Even the Chinese realize this chuckle-faced historian hump is more irresponsible than himself.


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Italians Use Finger To Rob Bank

Rome - January 28, 2007 - A resourceful group of Italian robbers used a severed finger to defeat a bank's security system and steal 10,000 Euros ($12,900). The only problem was they left the finger behind.

The bank on the outskirts of Rome was equipped with "Bio Digit" which records the digital imprint of the index finger of each person who pushes the entry button on the airlock.

According to the Italian media on Saturday, the two robbers used "the finger of the right hand from a body, perhaps that of a woman," to mask their digital identity and gain access to the bank.

The hold-up went perfectly; except for when police arrived they found the finger in question lying on the pavement in front of the bank.

"One can imagine the finger was kept in ice to stop it decomposing."

"Investigators are checking morgues to see if any bodies are missing a finger, and making sure it doesn't belong to someone on file," reporters said.  

"Bio Digit, questo culo! There's an Italian woman roaming the country with one less finger to pick her nose with.

Why did the hold-up go perfectly? The bank tellers must have been smiling when they handed over our money.

Bank charges and statements seem to be an emotive issue in Italy.
Yes, they can be confusing.
Yes, the charges are high.
Yes, they will make you emotionally angry!

You have no idea how many Italians would love to go to their local bank and give them the "finger".


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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