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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March 2007
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  "The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven"



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"Io speriamo che me la cavo" Welcome to another magnificent edition of "Only In Italy".

Hello from San Diego!

A friend of mine showed me the way to your website. It is wonderful! I have lived here all of my life, but my parents immigrated from Messina Sicily, on the USS Canopic. Do you sell hard copy of any of your articles or photos? Thank you again, maybe we will meet one day as I am in the process of getting papers together to move and live in Messina. Time to go home...

Thanks for your nutty but warm letter, Linda. We sincerely hope the newsletter will grow on you like a humorous fungus.

Sorry, we don't have a hard copy of our newsletter. We sometimes go nuts just trying to publish this stupid newsletter on the Net. Can you imagine us trying to explain to a Sicilian printing press that we want this printed?

So, you would like to leave San Diego and return to the Motherland. May we ask why? Is there something wrong with you? We'll just assume you're proud as punch for being Sicilian.

On a serious note, we sincerely hope you will enjoy your new life in Messina. Please make sure to bring enough handles to put on the walls so that they'll be easier to climb.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

$260,000 Cost of Impotency

Palermo - March 5, 2007 - An Italian man has been fined $260,000 for marrying his girlfriend without telling her he was impotent.

A court in southern town of Palermo found Luca Prodi, 26, guilty of fraud because he deceived his wife.

Prodi claimed he wanted to wait until they were married before having sex, and it was only after the wedding the woman found out the truth.

But the court ruled that she had a right to know about his impotency before entering into the marriage contract.

Prodi also has to pay $38,500 in court costs. His wife has since divorced him.

"Oh, Porca Puttana!" Heaven must be missing an angel...and she crash landed in southern Palermo.

Here's a woman whose life ambition is very specific and firmly believes in the Sicilian proverb: "Lu maritu senza affetu comu la casa senza tettu." A husband who lacks affection is like a house that lacks a roof.

No roof in Palermo is worth 260 grand!

What a poor Sicilian sap! We swear we've seen more compassion from a drive-up clown at McDonald's. Mussolini had a happier look on his last day than loser Luca at his sentence hearing.

By the way, is it really necessary to procreate and multiply south Palermo? Of course! We need another young Palermitano committing road rage on a scooter while eating a "vastedda" or "panelle" sandwich with fries.

"Vastedda": stewed-spleen sandwich. If you've never had it and you're dying to try one, cow spleen has a relatively inoffensive, meaty flavor. The real beauty in this sandwich is the topping of milky ricotta and grated parmesan cheese.

"Panelle": chickpea fritter sandwich dressed with the same cheeses.


Decrepit and Ragged Senators Surprisingly Hold Key to Italy's Future

Rome - February 23, 2007 - As Italy on Friday struggled to put together its 62nd government since the second world war, the spotlight fell on seven elderly senators who hold the nationís political future in their hands.

The "magnificent seven" rode to the rescue of Romano Prodi, the center-left leader, in May when their votes enabled his government to win a confidence motion and stay in office.

It was a different story on Wednesday, when one of the seven voted against the government and two abstained, contributing to Mr. Prodi's defeat on a foreign policy motion and triggering his fall.

Exactly why the trio acted as they did or whether they even knew what they were doing has rapidly become a national talking point.

The importance of the "magnificent seven" stems from the fact that Mr. Prodi's center-left forces command 158 seats in the Senate, parliament's upper house, only one more than the center-right opposition's 157 seats.

The balance of power rests with seven other so-called "senators for life", of whom three are former heads of state, two ex-prime ministers, one an industrialist and one a scientist.

Last May, all seven voted to keep Mr. Prodi's government in power. In December, five supported the government in a vote tied to Italy's 2007 budget. Had they not done so, Mr. Prodi would have fallen.

On Wednesday, it all went hideously wrong. For a start, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, 88, a former head of state sympathetic to the center-left, was in bed with flu and missed the vital foreign policy vote.

Three senators did support Mr. Prodi. They were Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 86, another former head of state; Emilio Colombo, 86, a former prime minister; and Rita Levi Montalcini, 97, a Nobel prize-winner for medicine.

Francesco Cossiga, who at 78 is the youngest of the "magnificent seven", voted against the government. This came as no surprise. He had previously complained that the center-left's foreign policy was "basically anti-American, anti-British and anti-Israeli".

The real shocks were the abstentions of Giulio Andreotti, 88, who served as premier seven times, and Sergio Pininfarina, 80, honored for his lifetime achievements in the car industry.

Mr. Prodi's government might have fallen, anyway, because of the hostility of leftwing dissidents to his foreign policy, especially his willingness to permit the expansion of a US military base in Italy and to keep Italian troops in Afghanistan.

But Mr. Andreotti and Mr. Pininfarina made a difference because, in a Senate vote like that on Wednesday, abstentions count as No votes. The government lost its motion by two votes.

Mr. Pininfarina was not known as a critic of the government, but he had not attended a Senate vote since May. There is much debate over whether he really wanted to abstain, or just made a mistake.

In the case of Mr. Andreotti, a master of Italian political intrigue since 1948, some center-left politicians are furious.

They suspect Mr. Andreotti, who is close to the Roman Catholic church, refused to support the government in order to punish it for having recently approved more legal rights for unwed couples, including gays. The church has loudly condemned this measure.

Mr. Andreotti has said nothing to confirm these suspicions. But for the next Italian government the lesson is clear; keep on the right side of the "magnificent seven".

"Again, Porca Puttana!" The magnificent seven? They should have their own super hero comic book and cartoon. Their powers include trying to walk up a flight of stairs without losing their breath.

How can the magnificent hold the key to Italy's future? What future would you like to see when you're in your late eighties? Christo, they mutter and mutter incoherently and the only break you get from them is when they have to go backstage in the parliament where the oxygen tanks are.

"The Magnificent Seven"

1.) Giulio Andreotti, 88: served as a magnificent prime minister seven times. No one has been able to understand why. He has been accused and convicted of having magnificent Mafia contacts, although he avoided formal conviction due to magnificent statutory limitations. He has sat in Parliament without interruption for 61 very long years. In November 2002 he was convicted of ordering the magnificent 1979 murder of Mino Pecorelli, a journalist who had published allegations that he had ties to the Mafia. He was sentenced to twenty-four-years imprisonment.

Magnificent Quote: "You sin in thinking bad about people - but, often, you guess right." If so, then it will be best if Italy starts lining up for Church penitence.

2.) Sergio Pininfarina, 81: a magnificent automobile designer whose company has been employed by Ferrari, Maserati, Cadillac, Peugeot, Jaguar, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. In October 2005 he was named Senator for Life of the magnificent Italian Republic. Why? It takes a magnificent designing genius to know what color leather goes perfect in your magnificent yellow Ferrari.

3.) Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 86: From April 1993 to May 1994, he flew in as Italian Prime Minister overseeing a magnificent "technical government" (a technical government is a non-party circus-like government made up of unelected, magnificent-but-clueless people such as civil servants, magistrates or bankers from outside the political circle instead of members of the country's magnificent legislature. They are constantly formed when it is impossible for a government to be formed until new elections are held in order to ensure magnificent administrative functions are carried out).

He magnificently chose the Italian design for the 1-Euro coin. He is not considered to be close to the magnificent positions of the Vatican and the Catholic church.

4.) Emilio Colombo, 86: In November 2003, shortly after receiving the honor of Senator for Life, he magnificently celebrated by admitting to being a regular cocaine user but for magnificent "therapeutic purposes".

Magnificent Quote: "I have not been a (cocaine) user for long - not more than a year, year-and-a-half." This vague but magnificent admission does not make him liable to magnificent prosecution because consumption of drugs in Italy is not a criminal offence.

5.) Rita Levi-Montalcini, 97: Italian neurologist who received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the magnificent discovery of growth factors. Today she is the oldest living Nobel laureate. A truly magnificent scientist and lovely lady who, unfortunately, has not been able to explain the lacking growth factors of brain cells of her parliament peers.

6.) Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, 88: was known as an austere and incorruptible politician, as well as a devout and magnificent Catholic attending Mass every day. This holy image indeed explains his election to the presidency, as the principal and clearly impossible task at hand was to return Italian public and political life to a more moral course.

7.) Francesco Cossiga, 79: was in charge of the Ministry for Internal Affairs during the kidnapping and murdering of Aldo Moro by Red Brigades. He magnificently resigned when Moro was found dead in 1978. His presidency was unremarkable, lifeless and quite boring for its first five years. However, in his last two years as a President, he woke up and began to express magnificent opinions, at times virulent, against the Italian political system. Some even suggested he was somewhat mentally unstable. He declared he was just "taking magnificent pleasure in removing some sand from my shoes."


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Italian Hang Glider Pilot Hangs Out In Tree for Three Days

Florence - March 4, 2007 - A hang glider pilot was plucked from a tree in Tuscany on Sunday, three days after he crashed into a tree and just dangled there helplessly.

Antonio Montagno, 47, was hanging head down in the branches when a rescue team from the Italian fire brigade eventually located and freed him.

"He was completely weak and had to be taken to hospital," a spokesman for the rescue team told Italian television that featured the story of the "Prisoner in the tree" quite prominently.

The experienced hang glider pilot had taken off from a hill in Florence on Thursday.

After sailing for several hundred meters, he encountered a sudden gust of wind and became entangled in the branches of a tree.

Even though a friend had seen him take off and then start to go down, it took days before firefighters, civil servants and volunteers finally managed to find him.

"The unfortunate victim was hanging at a height of about 10 meters and was practically completely entangled in his red and white hang glider," a firefighter said.


There's plenty of time to reflect on one's life while dangling head down from a tree for three days. For instance:

"Who would go hang gliding in the middle of winter?"
"I really have too much free time."
"I think Bocce playing and sheep-back riding is safer than this."

It's hard to believe the audacity of certain people. They're always looking for the ultimate excitement by defying mother nature.

One of the definitions of excitement is when the batteries are low in the TV remote control and you have to yell at someone in the family!

"Where are the double AA?"


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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