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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"Siete tutti belli" Welcome to the most interesting newsletter in the history of mozzarella and electricity, "Only In Italy".

Hi. Love your newsletter!

You asked once, "What are Italians doing in Rhode Island?" That's like saying what is ice doing at the North Pole! Don't you guys watch the "SOPRANOS"? This is where they go to get hit men! Keep the great articles coming, I'm an Irish girl with pretty much all Italian best friends! Maureen

P.S. I even put "gravy" on my pasta!

Thanks for the feedback, Maureen.

Although there are many Italians living in the great USA (15 million Sicilians alone so be careful) we weren't aware that so many live in Rhode Island. Why would an Italian want to live in a state where gravy on pasta is considered...normal? Even the Italian nose-rubbers at the North Pole know better.

We don't watch the "Sopranos" because its great dialogues are diluted during the English to Italian translations. It's like going to the movies and staying in the lobby.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Alitalia Loses 499 Million Dollars In 2006

Rome - January 28, 2007 - Italian airline Alitalia said its estimated net losses for 2006 were 380 million euros (499 Million US Dollars), twice as much as the year before.

The financially strapped airline made the report in order to meet a deadline set by the stock exchange authority Consob to outline its financial situation and its industrial strategy, a day before a deadline expires for potential buyers to come forward.

The Italian government, which holds a 49.9 percent stake in the company, is seeking to privatize Alitalia and bids have to be presented by Monday.

In its report to the stock exchange authority Alitalia also said that its plan to slash costs for 2005-2008 was not achievable "at the current stage".

The stock exchange authority ordered the report after Alitalia canceled a board meeting on January 19 after the resignation of Air France-KLM chief Jean-Cyril Spinetta from the Alitalia board.

Three preliminary offers were expected to be made by 6:00 pm Monday.

Reports emerged last week that Air France-KLM would not make a bid for the ailing airline because of the high asking price and the stringent conditions set by the Italian government.

"Volare!...Part Two"

No one is shameful anymore. There is no shame in Italian society.

Why doesn't everyone in Italy just wear a shirt that says, "I'm stupid", and maybe that will satisfy the world. So, the next time you ask why our playground airline is failing, we'll just point to our shirts.

The corruption in the air at "Alitalia" headquarters must be so thick, when you leave it must make you want to brush your teeth.

"...estimated net losses for 2006 were 380 million euros (499 Million US Dollars), twice as much as the year before." But in 2004 it lost almost 813 million euros (over 1 billion US Dollars). It's losing 51,000 Euros an hour. "Alitalia" accountants no longer use red ink in their accounting books. They just hose them down with marinara sauce.

It has 20,575 employees; half would still be too many. One to do half the job and the other two on standby in case of death or disease. Example: One washes the plane while the other two make sure he didn't forget under the wings.

The CEO Giancarlo Cimoli earns an annual salary of 2,700,000 Euro. This incredibly brilliant manager is like the lines on a soccer field. They're there... but they don't affect the game. They have some kind of function but nobody knows what it is. And when they do affect the game, then life has changed. At that point you might as well give up.

A third world fleet of aircraft; beaten only by the Tupolev Airlines. What a total mess! We can't believe we'll have to fly Yemen Airlines just to get to Rome!


Husband Calls for Annulment Of Marriage From Annoying Chain Smoker

Vatican City - February 4, 2007 - Smoke got in his eyes. Too much of it, so he asked the Roman Catholic Church to annul his marriage when his wife refused to kick the nicotine habit.

That is just one of the, well, hazy cases that wound up before the Vatican's Sacra Romana Rota, a top court which hears the most complicated of marriage annulment requests.

Others included women who wanted annulments because their husbands were "mammoni" (mamma's boys) who were not able to cut the psychological umbilical cord with their mothers even though they are in their 30s or 40s or beyond.

The cases have been reported in the Italian media since last Saturday, when Pope Benedict delivered an address to the court's judges asking them to be more careful in granting annulments.

An annulment in the Roman Catholic Church is an official ruling that a marriage was never valid, that it effectively never existed.

Among other reasons, annulments can be granted because of psychological immaturity of one or both partners at the time of the marriage, a hidden factor not known to one partner, problems of consent, lack of sexual consummation and forced marriages.

In the case of the non-smoking husband, the health and physical fitness enthusiast asked his girlfriend to marry him on condition she would eventually quit smoking.

She said yes and after they tied the knot she tried her best but her addiction was stronger than her and the marriage went up in smoke - at least from the husband's point of view.

A first diocesan marriage tribunal granted him the annulment but a second tribunal overturned that decision. They are still married in the eyes of the Church and the case is now before the Vatican's Rota.

The odd cases that made it to the Vatican court were contained in an annual report prepared by the judges for their yearly meeting with the Pope.

Others included cases where one of the partners, usually the men, had a "morbid dependence" on their parents - a not uncommon occurrence in Italy where many men tend to stay at home until they marry even if they earn top salaries.

One other case involved a man who asked for an annulment because his wife stopped taking care of herself and her looks after she got married and he considered himself "tricked" into marrying a person who turned out to be different.

Although divorce has been legal in Roman Catholic Italy for more than 35 years, it is still seen by many as a social stigma and some prefer to have their marriages annulled so they can remarry in Church.

Thousands of annulments are decided locally by diocesan tribunals around the world each year. The Vatican court rules on several hundred of the most complicated, many of them appeals.

"Ti amo...forse no."

Wouldn't you love to be a holy fly on a Vatican wall when they discuss the annulment requests with the Pope?

"Holy Father, I can't stand her! She smokes and puts the ashes in the kids' shirt pockets."

"I have to get the hell out of this marriage, Cardinal. His mother said I have more food caught in my teeth than she eats the whole day. On HIS birthday, he bought HER a diamond ring! It was for thanks for putting him on this holy planet."

"My dear Bishop, she has not been honest with me...she won't stop aging! Take a good look...her face could stop a sun dial."

"Archbishop, he told me he wasn't going bald. He won't get hair transplants but he wears that thing on his skull. Look at it! That hair should have a tail on it. How can he run a family if he can't run his own head?"

"Altar boy, my wife lives better than Cleopatra. Most women from underdeveloped countries would give up their left breast to live like her."

"Dear Pope, I don't mind her moustache but when she started growing those big pork chop sideburns, it was time to put my foot down."


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Italian Producer, Carlo Ponti, Dies at 94

Rome - January 10, 2007 - Italian producer Carlo Ponti, who discovered a teenage Sophia Loren, launched her film career and later married her despite threats of bigamy charges and excommunication, has died in Geneva. He was 94.

Ponti died Tuesday night at a Geneva hospital, his family said Wednesday. He had been hospitalized about 10 days earlier for pulmonary complications, it said.

He produced more than 100 films, including "Doctor Zhivago," "The Firemen's Ball," and "The Great Day," which were nominated for Oscars. Other major films included "Blow-Up," "The Cassandra Crossing," "Zabriskie Point" and "The Squeeze."

In 1956, "La Strada," which he co-produced, won the Academy Award for best foreign film, as did "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" in 1964.

But it was his affair with the young ingenue Loren that captivated the public, rather than his work with top filmmakers such as Dino De Laurentiis, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Ustinov, David Lean and Roman Polanski.

"I have done everything for love of Sophia," he said in a newspaper interview shortly before his 90th birthday in 2002. "I have always believed in her."

Born near Milan in the small town of Magenta on Dec. 11, 1912, Ponti studied law and worked as a lawyer before moving into film production in the late 1930s.

He was married to his first wife, Giuliana, when he met Loren, then Sofia Lazzaro, about 1950. At the time she was only 15, a quarter-century younger than Ponti.

They tried to keep their relationship a secret despite huge media interest, while Ponti's lawyers went to Mexico to obtain a divorce from his first wife.

Ponti and Loren were married by proxy in Mexico in 1957, two male attorneys took their place and the happy couple only found out when the news was broken by society columnist Louella Parsons.

But they were unable to beat stringent Italian divorce laws and the wrath of the Roman Catholic church. Ponti was charged with bigamy.

"I was being threatened with excommunication, with the everlasting fire, and for what reason? I had fallen in love with a man whose own marriage had ended long before," Loren has said.

"I wanted to be his wife and have his children. We had done the best the law would allow to make it official, but they were calling us public sinners," she said. "We should have been taking a honeymoon, but all I remember is weeping for hours."

The couple first lived in exile and then, after the annulment of their Mexican marriage, in secret in Italy.

During this period, Ponti produced the film "La Ciociara", known in English as "Two Women", for which Loren won a best actress Oscar in 1962, and contributed significantly to the development of French New Wave cinema in his collaboration with Godard.

Ponti and Loren finally beat Italian law by becoming French citizens, the approval was signed personally by French President Georges Pompidou, and they married for a second time in Paris in 1966.

Despite many predictions that the marriage would founder over Ponti's affairs and the many dashing leading men who reportedly fell in love with Loren, the couple stayed together.

Ponti had several other brushes with the law.

He was briefly imprisoned in by the Fascist government in Italy during World War II for producing "Piccolo Mondo Antico," which was considered anti-German. An Italian court later gave Ponti a six-month suspended sentence for his 1973 film "Massacre in Rome," which claimed Pope Pius XII did nothing about the execution of Italian hostages by the Germans. The charges eventually were dropped on appeal.

Though Loren was better-known, Ponti amassed a fortune considerably greater than that of his wife and again fell foul of the Italian authorities.

In 1979, a court in Rome convicted him in absentia of the illegal transfer of capital abroad and sentenced him to four years in prison and a $24 million fine.

Loren, along with film stars Ava Gardner and Richard Harris, were acquitted of conspiracy.

It took Ponti until the late 1980s to settle his legal problems and finally obtain the return of his art collection, which had been seized by authorities and given to Italian museums.

He also survived two kidnapping attempts in 1975.

Ponti discovered many of the great Italian leading ladies, including Gina Lollobrigida, and had affairs with several. "I don't like actors. I prefer women," he said at the time.

In recent years, the couple lived mostly in Switzerland, where they had several homes. Despite reports that he was seriously ill, Ponti attended the 1998 Venice Film Festival to accept a lifetime achievement award for his wife, who was kept away by illness.

"Arrivederci Carlo".

Fantastic producer! This is a man who was as brilliant as Steven Spielberg but had the money management of "Bozo the Clown".

He surely will be missed.

We recently rented one of his movies. It was so bad we lasted only 5 minutes. We put it on fast-forward and it still went too slow.

It shouldn't have been surprising that Italy tried to prevent him from marrying a young Sophia. Everyone (including the Pope) thought it wasn't fair that an old man should be allowed to marry a beautiful young actress.

Sophia Loren: "You have to be born a sex symbol. You don't become one. If you're born with it, you'll have it even when you're 100 years old." Sophia posed for the 2007 edition of Pirelli Calendar. Someone has to convince ol' Sophie a 72-year-old woman is no longer a sex symbol.

We hope she won't break her hip when she poses at 100.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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