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 2004
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"It's Morally Wrong to Pay High Taxes!"


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"Che bella giornata!" Welcome to another tax-free issue of "Only In Italy"!

That's right! Tax-free!

Wouldn't it be a better world if paying taxes was declared morally unacceptable? Well, according to our genius Italian Prime Minister, he thinks it's so and we've got the proof! We had to dig hard for this article because apparently the Italian government tried to put his comments to sleep.

I receive your newsletter and love it. By the way, I'm curious... who the hell makes up these stories? Barbara

Thanks for the feedback, Barbara.

These stories are not made up. They're all true and, yes, some do appear as if they came from a wacky volcano.

All of those stories (excluding the comments) come from real Italian newspapers and then are translated and written into English from other real newspapers -- not junky tabloids. We have a fresh load of that many stories every day. We don't have to make up the stories, because there are that many stories about real Italian people doing outrageous things in Italy every week. Really!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Italians Play Gay to Avoid Army Service

Padova - February 25, 2004 - It is not the sort of trick you would expect the stereotypical Italian male to pull.

But when it comes to dodging the draft, machismo goes out of the window.

Exploiting a provision which bars gays from military service, more than 150 men are thought to have paid two doctors for certificates diagnosing them as suffering from "sexual anxieties" and being "incompatible" with the stress of living together in dormitories and using communal bathrooms.

Doctors at Padua military hospital rumbled the scam when they noticed the unusual number of gay men coming from a small area in northern Italy in the Alto Adige region, near the Austrian border.

A police investigation found that several of them had girlfriends or wives.

Marianna Tschoell, 60, was arrested for putting them in touch with two doctors, Roberto Mandredi, 64, and Domenico Bossio, 38, who are being investigated for allegedly writing the certificates for 3,000 Euros each.

Investigators fear that it may be one of many scams used by men who, despite deep prejudice against gays, are pretending to come out rather than spend the obligatory 10 months in the army, the carabinieri or the civil police.

Genuine gays appear to have more compunction about using the provision, seeing it as discriminatory. Arcigay, the main gay rights movement in Italy, said that only about 200 gays used it each year, while 15,000 got through their military service keeping their sexual orientation a secret.

Italian military conscripts have to undergo an attitude test in which they are asked such searching questions as: "do you like flowers", "do you like women" and "have you ever felt yourself attracted to members of your own sex".

"Porca Miseria!" What prejudice! What is wrong with allowing gays in the Italian military?

You have to love the questions, though. And you have to admit only a gay serving the Italian military could ask those questions:

1.) "Have you ever participated in nude soccer?" No one bothers scoring. There's just lots of contact and fouls.

2.) "Have you ever had marinara sauce shoved down your pants? If yes, how much?

3.) "Do you love the Easter season the most because that's when they show most of the gladiator movies?"

It's Perfectly OK to Not Pay Taxes, says Berlusconi

Milan - February 18, 2004 - As election pledges go, it was almost certainly a winner: don't pay tax.

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, suggested yesterday it was "morally acceptable" to avoid paying taxes if they were too high, as he launched his European parliamentary election campaign.

"If we ask citizens to pay 33% tax they will all convince themselves that it is right and a duty, that it is correct to pay for the services they receive," Ansa news agency quoted him as saying.

But the billionaire media tycoon also told a press conference that if taxes amounted to more than 50% of people's income, it seemed "morally acceptable" to avoid paying.

He pledged to bring down taxes next year ahead of Italy's 2006 general elections.

Opposition politicians howled with disapproval. "This is clearly an instigation to break the law," said a Left Democrat, Fabio Mussi. "It is a crime not to pay taxes. It would be good if Berlusconi remembered that."

"Minchia, Finally!" This is fantastic!

You know, those lovely lawmakers in Rome usually "poop plenty" about their politics but every once in a while someone comes along and makes shocking good sense!

The Prime Minister's absolutely right. I'm glad morals and tax paying are finally mixing. We've been waiting for this since the days of Caesar. On my next tax return, I'm going to declare my taxes are too high to pay therefore; it's against my morals to pay them!

Imagine if this kind of religion begins to spread in the world? But it could also be scary...

Could it be that all that TV show makeup he wears finally sunk into his brain and forces him to say more and more incoherent things? Does he realize he's sending political ethics back 2000 years?


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Why I love...Naples

Naples - March 4, 2004 - Naples is my kind of city. A risk-taker's paradise. A crime-ridden labyrinth. A beautiful, death-haunted shambles. At all times it's little more than a Hail Mary away from getting puked on by Mount Vesuvius, the stroppy volcano that bears down on it from across the bay. They say that it's this permanent threat of death and destruction that makes Neapolitans live for the moment. It also accounts for the widespread superstition (many Neapolitans wear a red amulet shaped like a chili pepper or hang them over doorways to ward off evil).

It's the Keith Richards of cities, a menacing, espresso-crazed circus clinging tenuously to a fierce slope. No wonder they call it the human anthill. One million highly strung, shouty people letting it all hang out on every street corner, gesticulating wildly in secret coded gestures: pure street theatre. The perma-roar of clapped out vespas and cars that couldn't give a hoot about traffic lights. Dubious gents in silk suits wandering about with shell-suited bodyguards. Monica Vitti look-alikes strutting their stuff in too-tight jeans, ostentatious gold jewellery, black-market rip-off Dolce & Gabbana bags dangling from their perma-tan shoulders. Shifty-eyed entry-level Camorra (local mafia) selling contraband cigarettes in the gloriously dodgy Spanish Quarter. The omnipresent smell of pizza baking in wood-fire ovens complementing the roasty, blissful perfume of local coffee Kimbo wafting from a million over-worked cafetieres. Colorful washing lines billowing prettily over the city's endless maze of poorly lit alleyways and side streets like Buddhist prayer flags.

I love Naples so much that I've had it written into my will that my ashes are to be scattered there. My friend Larry, citing the infamous expression "See Naples and Die", pointed out that I'd gone one better: I was going to see Naples once I had died.

"Gesu!" He's not kidding! Naples should be declared another country! It's marvelous:

- Grown men running around with their shirts half-buttoned; thatís instant birth control.

- Napolitanos have proven Darwinís theory wrong; evolution soared and then fell straight into Mount Vesuvius.

- Children are fed with slingshots.

- It's the number one car-jacking capital of Italy. Last year, Naples had the equivalent of 5000 car thefts for every 100,000 residents. When you read a statistic like this you begin to realize that the people in Naples are stealing cars from people driving stolen cars.

Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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