"Bentornati!" Welcome to the only newsletter written by a staff who believes Italy needs another political party to protect the interests of lifeguards and toads, "Only In Italy!"
Hello again...your articles are getting more interesting with each letter. Why is it that the South of Italy is always the funniest of all the regions? Arrivederci, Viviana
Thanks for the feedback, Viviana! The south of Italy is the most fun because we have no work and a lot of free time to kill. So, we start our celebrations when the sun comes up.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
The playboy PM snapped up the "priceless" four-poster bed, complete with canopy and bronze eagle heads, from an antiques dealer pal. But he immediately demanded it be enlarged to accommodate a king-size mattress.
Annamaria Quattrini, who sold him the bed, said: "Silvio is a very dear friend. I have known him for 25 years and met him when he came into my shop looking for a desk for his villa.
"For its symbolic value, I would say the most important piece I have ever sold him was a bed that belonged to Napoleon, naturally in the style of an emperor.
"It had a large canopy, bronze fittings and eagles on the four corners it's beautiful and I hope he has sweet dreams on it.
"But it caused us our first argument because he wanted it widened."
Ms Quattrini, whose shop is in the center of Rome, refused to say how much the perma-tanned billionaire media tycoon paid for the bed but said it was "priceless".
She added: "When the bed was delivered as he requested he was delighted and he gave me a kiss and said it was beautiful. He is a real charmer but nothing happened between us."
Berlusconi's family newspaper, il Giornale, reported the bed was for his new house at Lesmo near Milan. Berlusconi has often compared himself to Napoleon and Italian newspaper cartoons often illustrate him as the tiny French emperor.
During a TV interview in 2006, Berlusconi said: "Only Napoleon did more than me, but at least I am taller than him."
And last year his long-suffering wife Veronica Lario, 53, who is divorcing him, said he was "inspired by the spirit of the Emperor Napoleon". One Napoleonic historian in Rome, who asked not to be named, said she would be "horrified" if Berlusconi had altered the 200-year-old bed.
She said: "It is a piece of history."
Giulia Gorgone, of the Napoleon Museum in Rome, said: "Pieces of furniture owned or used by Napoleon are few and far between, but some do exist.
"We often get to hear about them but we can never buy them as they are so expensive."
Last year escort Patrizia D'Addario, 42, revealed she had been paid to spend the night with Berlusconi and described how she had slept in a "four poster bed with drapes" that Vladimir Putin had given him. Ms D'Addario described how several escorts girls had been invited to orgies held at Berlusconi's official residence in Rome, Palazzo Grazioli.
We wonder if our readers are aware Italy gave birth to Berlusconi and Napoleon (he was born on the island of Corsica and his family originated from Italian nobility). Italy spawned them. IT CREATED THEM!
"Minchia", itís too late again. We can't abandon a lonely child who's more irresponsible than himself.
"Only Napoleon did more than me, but at least I am taller than him." No, he isn't. It's a popular myth that Napoleon was short, in fact the little crackpot was 5'6 ft tall which was average height for the time. But Silvio is on record as fluctuating between 5'4 and 5'6 ft tall...depending on the lifts in his shoes and the relative humidity for the day.
When two megalomaniacs ramble:
Napoleon: "France has more need of me than I have need of France."
Napoleon: "If you want a thing done well, do it yourself."
Napoleon: "The French complain of everything, and always."
Napoleon: "In politics... never retreat, never retract... never admit a mistake."
Napoleon: "From sublime to ridiculousness there is only one step."
Don't look now but there's a chuckle-faced nitwit who's one step away from doing something ridiculous with an 'escort' in your expensive bed.
Rome - March 1, 2010 - Mr Berlusconi was said to have been "furious" at the mistake, which could hand victory to the Left-wing opposition in one of Italy's most important regions.
The party worker who missed the deadline, Alfredo Milioni, said he had turned up at the electoral office in Rome at around 11.30 am on Saturday. He said that while waiting in line he had "taken the opportunity to go and get a panino (sandwich)".
But as the row intensified over exactly how the slip-up was allowed to happen yesterday, Mr Milioni, a former bus driver, then changed his story several times. He said he had left the queue in order to collect some electoral papers, then later claimed that he had popped out for a few minutes "because my daughter was waiting in the car and she had a fever".
Party chiefs gave yet another explanation that he had been distracted by an argument with a member of another party.
By the time Mr Milioni returned to the office at around 12.15pm, he was told the deadline for registration had expired.
The party appealed against the decision on Sunday, but it was rejected by a court. The PdL's candidate for governor in Lazio, Renata Polverini, has called on Italy's president, Giorgio Napolitano, to intervene in the dispute.
"I spoke to the prime minister and he was extremely disconcerted by what happened," said Ms Polverini, who is contesting a seat which has been left vacant since the Center Left incumbent was forced to resign over a sex scandal involving drugs and Brazilian transsexual prostitutes. The party plans to make a second court appeal, but if that too is dismissed, then Lazio's 2.3 million voters will not be able to vote for Mr Berlusconi's Center Right coalition.
The elections, to be held in 13 of Italy's 20 regions on March 28-29, are a key test of the 73-year-old leader's popularity after a torrid 12 months in which he has been involved in two corruption trials, physically attacked at a political rally in Milan, sued for divorce by his wife of 20 years and accused of sleeping with a prostitute at his palazzo in Rome.
"Mamma mia", I'm telling you the comedy goes on and on. What were the odds that the most dominant political party in Italy, lead by one of the richest and most powerful buffoons in Europe, would be defeated...by a sandwich?
And it's so entertaining to watch how Italian politics can turn a former bus driver into Italyís version of a shoeshine boy.
"Mr Milioni, a former bus driver, then changed his story several times. He said he had left the queue in order to collect some electoral papers, then later claimed that he had popped out for a few minutes "because my daughter was waiting in the car and she had a fever". Alfredo, what's one of the important rules of politics? Always stick with the first lie! Instead of your nose growing, your stomach grew. "Cavolo", itís like Pinocchio gone screwy.
It's a comedy in the making that will go down in history. The citizens of Lazio, one of Italy's most important regions, will be called to the voting urns after the Center Left's ex-governor was forced to resign after failing to resist the temptations for handsome Brazilian transsexual prostitutes. Obviously, the scandal would have handed Berlusconi's Center right party an effortless and comfy win. But 30 minutes before the registration deadline, Signore Alfredo proved Darwinís theory wrong:
"Evolution stepped our for a bite to eat."
After reading this story and thinking about the bus driver who is running around Rome dodging the black cloud above his head, thereís a lesson in this for all of us: You should keep a granola bar in your pocket.
Rome - March 1, 2010 - A center-right senator named in a money laundering phone scam and linked to a Calabrian mafia boss handed in his resignation on Monday before the Senate was expected to give the go-ahead for his arrest.
In a letter of resignation addressed to Senate Speaker Renato Schifano, Nicola Di Girolamo accused his colleagues of likening him to Lucifer and "cutting me to pieces". Di Girolamo rejected accusations that he had been elected a Senate representative for Italians abroad because of vote-rigging organized by the Calabrian Ndrangheta mafia.
"I was elected thanks to 24,500 voters...who were neither mafioso or criminals," said the senator with Premier Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, admitting though that "a small part" of those who voted for him could have been swayed by individuals "tainted" by mafia connections. Di Girolamo said he was certain he would be able to clear himself when interrogated by prosecutors, adding that he would place his trust in God.
Schifani urged the Senate last week to consider annulling Di Girolamo's election because he also falsely claimed he lived abroad rather than in Rome and was eligible to run as a candidate for Italians abroad. Prosecutors say that in exchange for the vote rigging Di Girolamo helped the mafia launder huge sums.
On Thursday, the news weekly L'Espresso published several pictures of an electoral dinner in 2008 where Di Girolamo is shown with 'Ndrangheta chieftain Franco Pugliese and Rome businessman Gennaro Mokbel, the alleged ringleader of the scam. Pugliese and Mokbel were arrested Tuesday while Di Girolamo's arrest needed to be cleared by a Senate panel.
House Speaker Gianfranco Fini urged Senators to vote for Di Girolamo's arrest while Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he was "shocked" by the evidence against him.
The opposition Democratic Party meanwhile called for a review of electoral procedures for MPs abroad.
Pugliese, who was sent on 'internal exile' to Mantua in the 1990s, is a top member of the Arena family, one of Ndrangheta's most powerful clans. He first came to the attention of police in 1997 when 12 billion lire in assets were seized including apartments, land and five cars in Calabria and a shopping center near Bergamo.
"Cacchio", whatever happened to integrity? Has anyone seen it?
When we first started primary school we were enrolled in a private Catholic institute in New York (St. Mary's). Our teachers were deranged nuns who would slap the dinner you had the evening before if you misbehaved in class or committed something incredibly inappropriate like mispronouncing while reading aloud. Sister Mary Louise, the head psychopath who was built like a pear, had a extraordinary way of slapping you. It was something between a swift slap and a punch that would land precisely between your cheek and ear, ringing and stinging your head for an endless period of time.
"Porca di quella vacca", the curse words (both Sicilian and English) that flowed through our heads like Niagara Falls! You can't assume these curse words were learned on the streets or through our peers. They came natural to us like raging hormones!
After those traumatizing first years, we started high school and began living in a prison-free environment, but the memory of those fulminating and powerful skin cracking blows still wake us in the middle of the night. When we read the news about the latest circus acts performed by our politicians, we wish in our hearts that Sister Mary Louise could still be around to deliver her penetrating bashes to the political class that has infected our country.
As a common Italian citizen you are expected to abide by our 340,000 laws, pay your taxes (some of us still do) and lead an incredibly dull life. In the meantime the representatives of our political class proclaim themselves against drugs, prostitution and corruption only to be found positive for cocaine, regularly visit so-called 'escorts' and transsexuals, and be caught accepting bribes.
So, what could the common citizen do to put some sense back into the minds of our political class? We suggest to throw one of them in the electric chair, put a lasagne in his lap and cook it up while heís frying so the electricity doesn't go to waste.
Sister Mary Louise would have agreed.