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 2009
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"Massage Your Grapes"



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Ah! Sei una bestia! Welcome to the newsletter that would like to ask the legendary Mina, "Are you still full of yourself at your age?" "Only In Italy!"


Grazie Signore Pecorino!

Minchia! What a great name! Mario Puzo should have used your last name for his "Godfather" Trilogy. "Vito Corleone" had his olive oil company...but you would have had your "Pecorino" cheese!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Massaging Grapes Produce Better Wine?

Abruzzo - February 12, 2009 - Italian vintner Stefania Pepe is a supporter of biodynamic agriculture and even massages her grapes before turning them into wine.

She believes gentle massage gives the grapes a good feeling and also ensures that only ripe grapes are used in the wine.

"Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I believe you have to make wine special. You have to imbue it with love and energy. I give my grapes my love and my energy," she said during Italy's Vin2009 expo.

"It's not all analysis. It's not all chemicals. Only love can make my wine," the 43-year-old insisted before demonstrating how she gently massaged the grapes on a wooden board.

Pepe, who is five-months pregnant, is also enthusiastic and eager to convert others to biodynamic wines.

"Wine is made in the vineyard," she said, repeating a common adage among winemakers who note that great wine starts with the best fruit.

Biodynamic agriculture is based on the ideas of the Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner, who reportedly was a tea-totaler and never drank wine or spirits.

Supporters of biodynamic agriculture consider the farm as a living system. They use special methods, including burying cow manure in cow horns in the fields and using compost that includes Chamomile and Yarrow flowers, to enhance the soil to produce wines that are stronger, better balanced and have more vibrant tastes.

Its critics say biodynamic methods produce wines that are similar to those produced using organic farming methods.

Pepe's winery in Abruzzo, Italy was among the more than 200 that were part of Vin2009, which was sponsored by the Italian government to retain and gain more market share in the United States. By the end of November 2008, Italy had exported more than $1.2 billion worth of wine to the United States.

Like many of the wine makers, Pepe was looking for a U.S. importer for her 10,000 bottles of Pepe Rosso, a plumy, jammy red she guarantees will have 20 years of life.

Pepe started in the wine business as a child in her father's winery stepping on grapes. When she was 18, she bought her first vineyard and, after working in France at Chateau Margaux, she returned to Italy to make her first vintage at the age of 23.

At first, she ignored her father's method of using concrete vats to ferment the wine, instead insisting on barrels. But after that first vintage she noticed that some of the wine tasted more of wood than of fruit.

"So I went back to my father and apologized. He definitely understood," she explained.

Pepe still stomps on some of the wine she makes today.

"You know, this way, the grapes are actually gently pressed, not like some hydraulic machine. And also the hard, unripe grapes they won't crush under foot. So it's really better for the wine," Pepe said.

She built her winery 30 feet underground so that she could use gravity at every stage in the wine making process.

"When the grape is pressed, the juice runs down. When you need to keep the temperature cool, you have nature keeping it cool. We bottle by hand. There is no filtering. Everything I do, I do to be in harmony with nature.

"And it shows in the wine," she said smiling. "I believe that a single person can do one thing to make the world a little better. This is my one thing."

All You Need Is Love: "No no no! You're supposed to massage the cheese, you cornuto, not strangle it!"

Biodynamic agriculture should be supported for its environmental, health and social benefits well as filmed for entertainment.

"You have to imbue with love and energy."

Love your eggs: The quality in eggs could be enhanced if only hens were taught to commit to just one partner rather than be treated as whores trapped in chicken brothels. A matchmaking service along with on site relationship counseling and mediation can help make a better omelette.

Love your milk: Never, ever yell at, hit, or otherwise abuse a goat while she's being milked. She needs and deserves your respect. The key is to make milking a loving experience, one that she will welcome, not dread.

If a goat lifts her leg in an effort to steer clear of your molesting hands on her "teats", one way to discourage this is to stop milking but keep your hand on the "teat" and warmly explain to her that your actions are out of total love and respect for her. Keep your hand on it until you convince her and puts her hoof back firmly down.


Religious Studies Teacher Mows Down Students

Turin - February 20, 2009 - A religious studies teacher drove into two pupils who had behaved badly in his classes at a school in northern Italy, causing the teenage schoolboys minor injuries.

The teacher had just arrived at the school car park when he allegedly spotted the two trouble-makers and mowed them down with his car.

Colleagues were unable to explain the actions of the teacher, who they described as "mild-mannered". The boys, who doctors said would make a full recovery in five days, admitted they had played up in class when the teacher had taken them for religious studies the previous year.

"Nothing offensive or serious; just making a bit of a racket and not paying attention," they told daily the local newspapers.

The teacher has been reported for grievous bodily harm and failing to provide assistance.

Professore: "Hey cornuti! 2 Timothy 4:7"
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

If only those students had paid a bit more attention to Proverbs 11:14:
"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

What's the general dynamic of an Italian teacher and student? The sharing and lack of space defines the relationships between everyone. Italian teachers have no personal space. In fact, they actually have no space at all.

It's no wonder that teachers in Italy feel absolutely no attachment to their students and never succeed in knowing any of their students' names. Class management doesn't exist; because the students are confined to one square space for the entire day, they become the ruthless rulers of their space.

How can a teacher set a tone when he/she is the one entering the students' space each day? (Start the car engine...)

Do you really think that the students will listen to and abide by each rotating teachers' rules and guidelines which change every 50 minutes? (Approach the troublemakers with increasing speed...)

Do you think that teachers can or are willing to develop relationships with their students, get to know them personally, understand their hardships, their learning intelligence, their home life situations? ("Boys, time to develop a relationship with my Fiat!")

In the famous biblical words of the late Pope John Paul II: "Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one must not misuse it."


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Coca Cola Will Not Take Over Venice

Venice - February 23, 2009 - Coca-Cola is not "buying" Venice, its city council said Monday, reacting to polemics over a planned million-dollar partnership between the drinks giant and the lagoon city.

An Italian daily reported Monday that the city was "selling itself" to Coca-Cola in a 2.1 million-dollar deal that will involve "vending machines in every corner of the city", including St Mark's Square, where tourists are forbidden from picnicking under strict council rules on urban decorum. But Maurizio Calligaro, the council's chief of staff, said the 60 vending machines would not be placed on public soil, let alone near landmarks such as St Mark's.

"Fifteen distributors will be placed on the principal vaporetti landing stages, the others will be inside council carparks and in the limited traffic zone of the mainland. Where's the invasion?" Calligaro said.

He also stressed that the vending machines would not bear the Coca-Cola logo, quashing rumors that the brand name would be plastered all over the city. Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari, who has long bemoaned a lack of state funds for the upkeep of city monuments and churches, said he was "astounded" by the polemics over the deal, adding that it was no different from others adopted in the past.

"This is a financial strategy that today is simply indispensable for safeguarding our monuments and artistic heritage and is in line with culture ministry guidelines," Cacciari said.

"It follows a strategy we've adopted with other equally prestigious collaborators - Lancia for the restoration of the Ducal Palace, Swatch for the Biblioteca Marciana, Replay for Ca' Rezzonico and Bulgari for the Scala d'Oro".

The mayor added that the idea that Venice could be safeguarded "by philanthropy alone" was unrealistic.

"These idealists who protest against strategies such as (the Coca Cola deal), which by now have been adopted in all the cities of the world, should have the good taste to indicate an alternative, or, even better, provide for the needs of the city from their own pockets," he said.

Cacciari last month warned that Venice's monuments and churches risked falling into ruin because too much state aid is being directed into a controversial project to protect the lagoon city from sinking. The experimental 4.3 billion-euro Moses scheme is scheduled to come into action in 2014 and involves moveable flood barriers that rise from the seabed to block the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when high tides are forecast.

A longstanding opponent of the costly scheme, Cacciari has warned that there are no guarantees that it will work.

Bob Dylan (When I Paint My Masterpiece):
"Sailin' 'round the world in a dirty gondola"
"Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!"

"Vaffanculo Bob!"

"Ah, minchia!" Nothing like standing shin-deep in dirty lagoon water paying 5 euros (6.35 USD) for a can of carbonated water with some flavoring and sugar. Well, if one considers the legal fleecing that goes on every day in Venice, what are the alternatives? Harry's Bar?

Harry's Bar is probably the most famous named bar in the world due to its association with people like Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote. "Cazzo", and who could forget the refined, dignified and grossly overfed Orson Welles who would chug down two bottles of Dom Perignon at one sitting?

Unfortunately, some tourists turn into complete ignorant jackasses and convince themselves they have to go in and have one of their famous "Bellini" concoctions.

"Ah, minchia again!" Nothing like a glass of 3-4 oz of supermarket peach juice and stock sparkling wine for 14 euros (18 USD). And if you're not a jackass enough to order a second round, then the barmen politely point to the flooded piazza outside that awaits you.


One third fresh peach juice,
Two thirds chilled Prosecco sparkling wine.

THE SECRET: Make sure to pour the peach juice into the glass first.

"Huh?! Figlio di puttana..." Disappointing, isn't it?


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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