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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"15,000 Workers Get the Axe!"


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"La Vita Fa Schifo!" Welcome to the only newsletter not financially affected by the Parmalat scandal, "Only In Italy!"

How sad! 15,000 workers in 20 countries will soon be gone thanks to the financial scandals of Parmalat, the largest dairy firm in all of Europe. Where's the shame?

No shame! No one in Italy is shameful anymore. Sometimes all of us at the news office have to stop working and look outside the window to make sure Italy is not crumbling around us.

I have a question. How did the street that you are located on become "Via Kennedy"? I would imagine that it was named after John F. Kennedy, or Bobby Kennedy, or both, but I never assume anything. Also, how did you guys learn to speak/write such perfect English? Ciao. Al

Grazie for the letter, Al. The street, Via Kennedy, where our news office is located was not named after John nor Bobby Kennedy. It was proudly named after their other brother, Ted. Italy no longer has shame and Ted Kennedy is the only Kennedy who has the biggest pair of record size "coglioni" to pull off all that he does without shame.

If you think our English is perfect, wait till we issue our Hebrew edition dedicated to our Italian-Jewish fans all over! (Is Italian-Jewish considered proper English, Al, or would it be funnier to write Italian-Jew fans?)

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Italians Take to Their Scooters with Passion

Rome - March 25, 2004 - Fifty-one years after tough guy news reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) scorched through the streets of Rome on a Vespa scooter with "Princess Ann" (Audrey Hepburn) clinging on, Italians up and down the peninsula are more hooked than ever on the two-wheeler habit.

A Roman holiday it's not. Traffic accidents in the city seem always to feature scooters in the underdog role, and it is not unusual to see two or three scooter prangs in a day.

Franco Luccesi, president of the ACI, said the dramatic increase in scooter use - up 11 per cent on 2002 - was "an inevitable answer to the rules limiting the use of four-wheelers in urban areas". Rome alone now has 320,000 two-wheelers, one for approximately eight men, women and children in the city.

In addition to being extraordinarily numerous, Italy's two-wheelers are also strikingly lawless. Thirteen per cent of users observed by ACI did not bother (like "Joe Bradley" and his royal passenger) to wear helmets; 7.8 per cent had their lights off, 8.7 per cent crossed traffic lights on red, 10 per cent overtook on the wrong side, and two per cent went the wrong way down one-way streets.

More than four out of 10 two-wheelers logged for the survey were guilty of one or more infraction. The centaurs of Naples were the most easy-going, more than 90 per cent of them breaking the law. Teenagers riders will be required to take out licenses from 1 July, but 16 per cent said they were not going to bother.

A television news presenter, Massimo Giletti, who claims to travel in Rome "always and only by scooter" told reporters, it was "absolutely true" that two-wheelers are undisciplined.

From 1 April next year, the centaurs will have another law to ignore: outside city centers they will be obliged to wear fluorescent reflecting vests. Another item that Peck and Hepburn wouldn't have been seen dead in.

"Porca della troja!" This article tells the truth!

If you're a tourist planning to visit Italy soon, make sure you pack your helmets, shields and comfortable running shoes because every major Italian street can turn into the live movie set of "Spartacus" when the public schools let out!

There is no law of the land for these so-called "centaurs"; running people over, purse snatching, vandalism and scooter stunts! It's a fantastic real-life experience that NO tour guide will offer you in Italy.

However; thank goodness for the new law requiring fluorescent vests. Now, the centaurs will still attempt to leave tire marks somewhere on your body but those shiny vests will give you an additional 2.5 seconds to get the hell out of their way.

Italian Villagers Swear in Vain for Slice of Mobster's Loot

Calabria - February 23, 2004 - News that Italian government officials are trying to dispose of a million-dollar fortune left by a Hamilton-based Mafia boss has sparked a frenzy in a small Italian village as residents try to prove the dead gangster’s blood runs through their veins.


In the mafia-controlled village of Plati, a hamlet on the slope of the rugged Aspromonte mountain of Calabria, people are jamming the town hall to peruse birth and death certificates and any other documentation that might put them in line for a piece of Rocco Perri’s fortune. The problem is, there is no hunt for Perri’s heirs.


And there might not be a million dollar inheritance.


With emails from Plati and Ontario pouring into his computer, Toronto-based organized crime writer Antonio Nicaso admitted he might be at the root of the misunderstanding that has southern Italy abuzz with dreams of an instant fortune.


Mr. Nicaso, who has written several books on the Mafia, went to Plati in December to interview relatives of Perri for a book about the mob boss, who earned a fortune selling bootleg liquor to American gangsters during Prohibition.


"Plati is a very small village and when I went to do my interviews I went to the town hall to search for documents," he says. "Rumor built upon rumor and somehow people decided I was with the government, searching for relatives who were entitled to Rocco Perri’s fortune."


Once word spread through the village, dozens of applicants began rooting through the town’s documents as well as shaking their own family trees for diaries and letters. Family photos were examined to see if there was any resemblance to Perri, no matter how faint.


There may well be a fortune in the story someplace, Mr. Nicaso said. His research shows Bessie Starkman, Perri’s wife and partner-in-crime had $900,000 in four Hamilton banks in 1926, when the couple’s bootlegging operation was in full swing. The Perri-Starkman profits were kept in her name.


"Four years later, when she was assassinated, her will showed she had only $68,000, Mr. Nicaso says.


Where the rest went has long been a matter of speculation.


Mr. Nicaso believes that Ms. Starkman, who often traveled to the United States, might have carried the cash over the border to invest under another name.


This is supported by Mr. Nicaso’s discovery that Mr. Perri, who vanished in April 1944, after surviving almost 15 years of murder attempts and bombings, did not get fitted for concrete shoes and dropped into Hamilton Harbour, as is widely believed. He instead quietly moved to the United States under an assumed name, Mr. Nicaso said.


"I have a letter written by Rocco Perri on June 10, 1949 ," he said. "And I found a cousin in Italy who said he really died in 1953 in Massena, New York."


Mr. Nicaso said it is likely that Starkman made investments in the United States and, after her death and his own disappearance, Perri drew off the investments until he died.


When Mr. Nicaso gave an interview a year ago about his forthcoming book, to be released this fall by John Wiley & Sons, he provided an e-mail address to include in the story so Perri’s relatives could contact him.


That came back to haunt him when his December research trip was misinterpreted as government-sponsored hunt for relatives and inquiries started flooding in.


This week, when the press in Italy heard about the run on the Plati town hall, stories began to appear, citing the Perri bootlegging fortune and the deaths of several of Mr. Perri’s close relatives. The only people left who could claim the fortune, the media reports said, would be distant relatives and descendants.


And as the news stories appeared, more and more hopeful Perri relatives appeared. In the southern province of Calabria alone there are an estimated 3,000 people with the Perri name. Several live in Plati, where there are only 20 surnames among the 3,500 population.

Attention all subscribers to this newsletter: It could be you!

If your last name is "Perri" and you're originally from Platì, Calabria, please contact the Platì town hall at tel. +39 0964-47028 or fax +39 0964-47029. You could be the eligible heir(s) of Rocco Perri's fortune!

There is no need to thank us if one of our readers is the lucky heir. We would just appreciate the answers to the following questions:

Wasn't Rocco's money supposed to be sequestered by the Italian gov't?
Why hasn't it been donated to charity for victims of organized crime?
Why was Bessie killed?
Who drank all the whisky?
Why aren't people rioting over this?


Fresh Italian cookies for Easter straight from Italy! Easter is on it's way so finish off the big feast with Italian gourmet almond, fig & pistachio cookies. Baked and shipped from our little bakery in Italy to you; all natural, fresh, and baked to order. Whatever your favorite Italian gourmet cookie is, Adriana's bakery will satisfy.

Only from!


15,000 Parmalat Jobs in 20 Countries To Disappear

Parma - March 26, 2004 - Scandal-hit Italian dairy firm Parmalat plans to slash nearly half its staff and sell or liquidate operations in 20 countries.

Banks, bondholders and small investors' representatives have been meeting the boss of scandal-hit Italian dairy firm Parmalat to discuss its future.

The company's debts are thought to be as high as 14bn Euros ($16.9bn). Enrico Bondi, the government-appointed administrator in charge, is in talks with a bidder for its US unit. The firm also plans to sell operations in Mexico, Latin America and Asia.

The scandal that now engulfs Parmalat is still unfolding. The story started in December when the firm admitted a 4bn euro hole in its accounts.

As investigators started to comb the books to see what had happened, they found a web of offshore accounts and disguised debts which swelled to an estimated 14bn Euros. A total of 29 former Parmalat bosses - including founder Calisto Tanzi - are set to stand trial.

Other people under investigation include auditors and lawyers who worked for the firm. Mr. Tanzi has already admitted siphoning money from Parmalat to fund a travel business.

But he has claimed the attempts to cover up the company's losses were carried out by senior managers without his knowledge.

They are in turn blaming their former boss, saying he both requested their actions and consented to them.

WorldCom... No!
Enron... No!
Parmalat... YES!

Parmalat unofficially holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest financial scandal in the history of this planet and Mars! (15,000 workers and $16.9 billion gone!)

(This part is dedicated to anyone who works hard for a living.) It's the loving family story of an Italian father who had to drain money out of his international company to satisfy the whims of his daughter and her failed travel business.

"La vita fa schifo!" Life sucks!

And make sure you remind your sneaky little stockbrokers that life sucks the next time they call you because they came across a hot tip.

My Uncle Ugo always preaches to his kids about how much life sucks. Everyday when his kids leave the house, he trips them right before they get on the school bus. He says, "My dear children, that’s the best lesson a father could give his children. Life sucks!"


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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