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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April 2004
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"Archbishops, Contractors & Miracles"


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"Buona Pasqua!" Happy Easter and welcome to another blessed issue of "Only In Italy!"

All of us here at the news office would like to take this rare & serious moment to thank you for all your past feedback and comments regarding our site, newsletter and articles. We sincerely appreciate it because it helps us to improve ourselves professionally and, sometimes, morally. And we promise that in the coming days we're going to get to all your questions.

Ciao Pasquale e Tutti! A brief comment on the sporadic fires article (Ghostbusters Study Sicily's Blazes). Could it be that there is a plot to rid all the residents so that some big corporation may come in and use the land for some financial gain? I know maybe I'm watching too much TV, but that's my opinion. Ciao. Geraldo

Thanks for the letter, Geraldo!

There is a very small number of big corporations present in Sicily at the present time and it doesn't take a genius from Genoa to figure out why.

Believe us, if more big corporations come down to Sicily, they will rather deal with angry ghosts, peculiar Sicilian grandmothers and combustible home appliances than the Mafia.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

The Bishop, the Bribes and an Almighty Reprimand in the Valley of Temples

Agrigento - April 9, 2004 - The Pope came to Agrigento nearly 11 years ago and threatened the Mafia with the wrath of God. The town, in south-west of Sicily, was a good place to choose to make such a speech: it is hard to think of a better symbol of the way that organized crime has eaten into the fabric of Italy: its morals, heritage and civilization.

Agrigento's Valley of the Temples is one of Italy's most magnificent and important heritage sites; an astonishing expanse of Greek temples unrivalled outside Greece proper, built by colonists from Rhodes and elsewhere since the sixth century BC.

Thirty years ago, the government, recognizing its worth, banned new building at or near the site. Yet these awesome relics are hemmed in by hundreds of illegal modern buildings: large and small; smart and jerry-built.

Last week, Agrigento may have narrowly avoided having one more colossal carbuncle added to the throng: a gigantic shopping complex. The two businessmen behind it were arrested on suspicion of bribing politicians and civil servants to obtain the necessary permits. But despite the Pope's thunder more than a decade ago, the Catholic church emerges from the latest scandal looking the worse for wear.

The Archbishop of Agrigento was a prominent supporter of the now-aborted scheme, and stands accused by its most vociferous opponent of "coming to the defense of Mafia business". The project was intended for a prime site - a hilltop overlooking the house of Luigi Pirandello, the classic Italian dramatist - four kilometers from the temples.

One of Italy's best selling newspaper, charged yesterday that permission to build the complex had only been obtained by Gaetano Scifo and Calogero Russello, the developers, paying "robust bribes" to politicians and bureaucrats, notably to Vincenzo Lo Giudice, a former counselor of public works in the town, who is "not by chance known as 'Mangialasagne' ('Lasagna-guzzler').

So where does Monsignor the Archbishop fit in? For reasons yet to be explained, one month ago Msgr Carmelo Ferraro hosted a meeting of parishioners in the zone where the shopping center was to be built. In attendance were the businessmen behind the scheme.

Explaining the meeting this week, Don Mario Sorce, the priest of the church of Santa Croce in the town, said: "We defended the project, not the contractors. We were thinking about the jobs it would bring, not about the business." The Archbishop's efforts on behalf of the shopping center did not stop there. With the town council dithering whether to give the scheme a definitive go-ahead, and with Mr. Arnone denouncing its illegality, the Archbishop fired off a two-page letter to the local press last Monday, affirming his "full and total solidarity" with it, and urging the council to give it the green light "without further hesitation of delay".

Later that day, the contractors were arrested for alleged bribery. The Archbishop has declined to make further comments on the matter.

"Per l'amore di Dio!" Here we go again...

Can you believe what the environmentalists in Italy have to deal with? Not only Mafioso contractors and corrupt politicians but not-too-holy Archbishops too!

There is no longer shame in this wacky amusement park called Italy!

Why stop here? The church should sponsor the construction of a McDonald's inside the Roman Coliseum. After a long afternoon of exploring this beautiful monument, you'll sure be in the mood for a Big Mac and fries. You can order the 'Gladiator' size.

"Gesu", no wonder why it's so hard to book a penance in church these days. The priests are too busy down at the construction sites overlooking the holy blueprints.

Witness Claustrophobic, Judge Transfers Hearing Outdoors

Palermo - March 15, 2004 - It happened at Palermo, Sicily, in front of the court house...instead of inside.

A town hall counselor was called to testify for a defamation court case. The man began to feel sick and the judge, after certifying that the witness was indeed claustrophobic, had decided to move the court hearing out into the open. 

The hearing was moved outside to the Garden of Remembrance in front of the court house.

Hmmm...what else could have gone wrong in that court room? (I mean, in that court garden?)

The accused complains he has crooked teeth.
Judge: "3 day adjournment for braces."

The court officer keeps itching due to his athlete's foot.
Judge: "20 minute recess for foot powder."

The lawyer for the prosecution is feeling a little down.
Judge: "50 minute recess for therapy."

The judge looks a little too pale.
Judge: "30 minute recess for a little sun & an espresso coffee break in the garden."


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Minutes Away From Funeral, Old Woman Reopens Her Eyes Among the Dismayed Present

Palma di Montechiaro - March 9, 2004 - The old woman was declared dead after suffering a cerebral stroke.

All was ready prepared and ready for her funeral when, all of a sudden, the woman had reopened her eyes leaving the present mourners astonished. Present at the scene were two unconvinced police officers.

The resuscitated woman was immediately transferred to the San Giacomo d'Altopasso di Licata hospital where she is recovering in good condition.

"Madonna!" Isn't that a wonderful story? And just in time for the Easter holidays.

Too bad her ungrateful relatives are going to lovingly accompany her into that hot kitchen to prepare the extra-large Easter dinner, like every Sicilian grandmother, does for 50-70 people.

"Nonna! You're alive! It's a miracle! Praise Padre Pio and the Lord!"

"When do we eat?"


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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