"Ciao!" Welcome to another law abiding issue of "Only In Italy"!
We send you our most sincere apologies for delivering Friday's issue a couple of days late. The truth is we're still recovering from shock due to a few laws that were approved lately from the Italian Parliament. Here's a hint of what we mean; if you visit Italy this summer, keep your pets and mothers-in-law at home!
I just started getting your newsletter and I get several smiles from it. I also like all of the stuff you can check out from your sites, but your story of Naples...you were so descriptive I could see it all. I've always wanted to come to your beautiful country but if I ever do maybe I'll skip Naples. (I think that maybe there are some places like that still in New York, USA!) Thanks for a cool (showing my age) newsletter. Cindi
"Mille grazie" for your comments, Cindi. Your comments were heartwarming and touching which is the least we can say for some lovely letters we have received from some angry people apparently from Naples (Italians can be so touchy sometimes). Let us clarify...
There are many beautiful things to see in Naples regardless of their extraordinarily bad music.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - March 27, 2004 - If you're planning on coming to Italy, don't even think of kicking a dog, even if it's yours. And especially if you're angry at your mother-in-law. It's now the law.
Well, this is Italy, where the country's highest court of appeals is clearly taking on a more activist role to improve the quality of life for Italians. And their dogs.
In its most recent ruling this week, it made kicking your dog a crime. In the case of a Sicilian man, the high court ruled he was guilty and upheld a fine of 5,000 Euros ($6,150), even though the dog was unhurt.
According to the Italian news agencies, the court said, "It was enough for the creature to suffer psychological trauma," though the judges didn't say to whom the dog expressed his "psychological trauma."
Lay Off Mother-In-Law
Then there's the mother-in-law. The court ruled in December that hostility to a mother-in-law, even without "an overt threat, should be punishable by law."
The landmark case? A son-in-law, who blamed the collapse of his marriage on his wife's mother, parked his car outside his mother-in-law's house and shouted out her name.
The court said, "Even an attitude or behavior not accompanied by any verbal expression can amount to a threat."
While the court is known for idiosyncratic rulings such as once declaring that "adultery could take place before marriage" some have drawn cheers in Italy, a country often strangled by a bureaucracy with seemingly endless tentacles.
It was the case of a lawyer from Perugia fined in 1993 for parking in the city center, even though he had a permit to be there. The lawyer waged a long fight to cancel the parking ticket, rejected by the bureaucracy each step of the way. Finally, he took his case to the appeals court, which ruled the lawyer should be compensated by Perugia officials for the stress of his bureaucratic nightmare.
Fattened Butts Off Limits
But many rulings still draw amused reaction. For example, the court's decision last month that politicians can't make fun of an opponent's size.
The case involved a city councilman from the southern city of Calabria who was fined for accusing a rival of "fattening her buttocks" by "grabbing and misusing public funds."
The court ruled politicians should have a sufficiently broad "cultural dimension" to avoid such low blows as referring to an opponent's "bodily dimension."
In Italy, there's justice even for campaigning politicians, whether they deserve it or not.
"Porca Puttana!" Isn't that fantastic news? There go all the fat ass mother-in-law jokes.
As if mother-in-laws haven't wreaked enough terror
and havoc in our lives, now they can claim asylum in Italy. And God forbid your mother-in-law has the attitude of Mussolini, a rear the
size of a Fiat 500 and an ugly mangy pet dog (you know who you are). You might as
well stop hiding from her, turn yourself in and listen to that sweet voice ringing in
You might as well stop hiding from her, turn yourself in and listen to that sweet voice ringing in your ears.
The union members are protesting against 'everything' - including pension and education reform and spending cuts
Rome - March 27, 2004 - Around a million workers across Italy went on strike Friday to protest against the economic policies of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right government.
For the fourth time in two years, industries across the country came to a standstill as columns of demonstrators wound through the centers of Rome, Turin, Milan, Palermo, Naples and other main cities.
The general strike was 'a response to the government to say they've got it wrong, about everything', Mr. Guglielmo Epifani, the leader of Italy's biggest union, the CGIL, told demonstrators in the Sicilian capital of Palermo.
Italian newspapers quoted unionists as saying one million workers took part in the strike.
Workers in most industries observed a four-hour stoppage, but schools, banks and post offices were closed for the entire day. Road and rail transport in urban areas shut down from the morning, though unions pledged to maintain a skeleton service until full service resumed in the afternoon.
The three most powerful unions claimed that at least 60 per cent of workers at Fiat, an important barometer as the country's biggest private employer, had observed the strike. The car maker put the figure at 18.5 per cent.
'For the past 36 months, the country has been at a standstill, the longest industrial stagnation of the post-war era,' said Mr. Epifani, whose union claims five million members.
The strike was the fourth general work stoppage since April 2002, when unions united to call the first general strike in Italy in two decades.
He was echoing union criticism that the government seemed more preoccupied with a financial crisis facing Italy's leading football clubs than labor unrest.
"Porca Miseria!" Another strike. What a shock. Italy, the only country where 3 full time employees are hired for each public
service job; one to do half a job and the other two on standby in case of death
In a way you have to agree with the union criticism; if the gov't lets the
financial crisis close down the stupid football clubs, we could no longer
watch those hostile games and we would have to go back to work!
And since this was a protest about everything, I protest against the
"Be Nice to your Mother-In-Law" law! I still can't believe I can't
tell her to shut her fat trap without facing charges.
Italy, the only country where 3 full time employees are hired for each public service job; one to do half a job and the other two on standby in case of death or disease.
In a way you have to agree with the union criticism; if the gov't lets the financial crisis close down the stupid football clubs, we could no longer watch those hostile games and we would have to go back to work!
And since this was a protest about everything, I protest against the "Be Nice to your Mother-In-Law" law!
I still can't believe I can't tell her to shut her fat trap without facing charges.
Vicenza - February 16, 2004 - An Italian man and a Thai woman locked lips for 31 hours 18 minutes, setting a new world record in a Valentine's Day kissing marathon in Vicenza, northern Italy.
Andrea Sarti, 37, a lorry driver, was so exhausted by the kiss that he had to be resuscitated with oxygen by a first aid team. Anna Chen, 26, had to lie down.
The couple, from the coastal resort of Rimini, beat the previous record of 30 hours 59 minutes, set by an American couple in 2001.
The rules required the couple to remain standing throughout the kiss. They were not allowed to eat, drink or go to the toilet, and could communicate only by written or text messages.
Mr. Sarti was reported to have insisted on taking part in the competition for the 10,000 Euros ($12,500) prize for the money he needed to marry Ms. Chen. But as the kiss dragged on, Ms. Chen turned out to be the more enduring of the pair.
Mr. Sarti's shoes had to be swapped for a pair of slippers while his girlfriend persevered in a pair of high heels, perched on a footstool to achieve the optimal kissing position.
Ms. Chen also had to massage her boyfriend, who suffered cramps in several places.
"It was really difficult," Lucaino Gaggia, one of the organizers, told reporters. "We didn't think they could do it. Their secret was concentration... and the ability not to think about time passing."
Meanwhile in the Piazza Farnese in Rome, thousands of gay couples smooched simultaneously on Saturday night, in a 10 second mass-kiss.
Gay rights activists called on the government to stand up to the Vatican and give equal rights to Italy's thousands of gay couples.
This enchanting love story is
dedicated to women all over who come to Italy convinced they're going to find Romeo:
Maybe you'll get lucky and find someone who'll kiss you for 31 hours and
maybe you'll find someone like our cousin Maurizio...
"I love you more than anything else in the world but please "STOP
If you get any older than this, I can't stay with you! Get some
help! Call Ponce DeLeon! Do something! I can't believe Iím married to a 40 year old!"
"And the unbelievable thing about all this is that Iím getting younger and
Maybe you'll get lucky and find someone who'll kiss you for 31 hours and maybe you'll find someone like our cousin Maurizio...
"Ti amo." "I love you more than anything else in the world but please "STOP AGING!" If you get any older than this, I can't stay with you! Get some help! Call Ponce DeLeon! Do something! I can't believe Iím married to a 40 year old!"
"And the unbelievable thing about all this is that Iím getting younger and better looking!"