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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"I'll Take 2 Pizza Cones"  


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"Ciao-Ciao!" Welcome to the only newsletter that could calm down Iraq, "Only In Italy!"

"Buone Notizie!" How many of you love pizza but can't get enough of it for fear of getting dirty from dripping oil and/or being labeled a fat slob? Well, an unstable Italian cook with lots of obvious free time just invented the a cone!

This is the story of an Italian who's dream is to become, not another Leonardo DaVinci or Marconi, but the next Ronald McDonald. Sad to write, his "Konopizzas" will be opening in Bergamo, Italy, soon along with another 12 outlets in the coming months.

Hi...Love your newsletter! You asked Rita, "What are Italians doing in Rhode Island?" That's like saying what is ice doing at the North Pole! Don't you guys watch the "SOPRANOS", this is where they go, (R.I.) to get hit men! Keep the great articles coming, I'm an Irish girl with pretty much all Italian best friends!

P.S. I even put "gravy" on my pasta! Maureen

Thanks for the letter, Maureen. We honestly didn't know that Rhode Island is used as a reference in the "Sopranos" series. The show is barely shown in Italy because, quite frankly, we live the reality version of the show everyday. So, why watch it on TV.

However; it seems that asking whether Irish people put gravy or not on their pasta is the same as asking if there's ice in the north pole.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Italian Minister Defends Fumbled Handling of Hostage Death

Rome - April 16, 2004 - Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini defended on Friday his decision to appear on a live chat show and reveal the name of an Italian hostage killed by Iraqi kidnappers before the man's family had been informed.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi, one of four Italian security guards abducted outside Baghdad earlier this week, was shot dead after Italy refused to bow to the kidnappers' demands that it withdraw its some 3,000 troops from Iraq.

The news that one of the hostages had been murdered was reported by Arabic TV just before the Italian chat show got under way, on which Frattini was flanked by distraught relatives of the other three hostages who didn't know who the victim was.

The dead man's name was withheld until Frattini identified the victim hours later live on "Porta a Porta" ("Door to Door").

"I had to assume the serious responsibility of telling the public what was happening and I think it would have been more reprehensible if the foreign minister had quickly withdrawn to his comfortable office," Frattini told reporters.

"As soon as the news was given I had to confirm it. The family was advised about 25 minutes later."

Critics accuse Frattini of turning the tragedy into a TV reality show. Quattrocchi's family was aghast.

"It was horrible that Fabrizio was gone and we received the news from 'Porta a Porta'," his sister Graziella told reporters.

The show on RAI state television is known as Italy's "third house of parliament" because of the high-profile guests it attracts.

Some critics have said it was inappropriate for Frattini to appear on it at all instead of working behind the scenes to resolve the crisis.

"Can anyone imagine the British, French or German foreign ministers spending their time during a serious emergency seated on the sofa of a chat show as Frattini did?"

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has also come under fire. Berlusconi, who was on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia as the news emerged, issued a statement saying Italy's resolve had not weakened but he has not addressed the nation in person.

"In those dramatic moments, Frattini was asked to give testimony before the country and that is what happened. At least he was there. Not in Sardinia like Berlusconi."

"Bravo, Bravo, Grazie, Grazie e Vaffanculo!"

What class and dignity! Thank you very much, Minister Frattini!

Supposedly, this is what happened behind the scenes that evening...

A short time before the show began, the Quattrocchi Family had indeed discovered that one of the hostages was killed however, they were certain that it was not Fabrizio because the Italian government had not sent an official communication to the family notifying them it was him. Unfortunately, the family discovered the truth in the most disrespectful & tasteless way possible.

Minister Frattini declared Fabrizio Quattrocchi a hero. And what are you? A chicken chaser who is supposed to be a role model for the Italian society.

The only positive thing that came from all this is the Minister didn't pick fleas off himself on national TV.

Proposal Launched for Sicily-Calabria Bridge

Palermo - April 15, 2004 - Italy has launched a proposal for construction of a long-awaited bridge linking Sicily with mainland Italy, Italian television has reported.

Construction of the bridge expected to cost 4.6bn Euros ($5.5bn; 3.1bn) will begin in late 2005 and take more than six years, the report said.

The toll for cars using the 3.6 kilometer bridge will be 9.5-16 Euros.

The bridge will be one of the biggest and most costly public works projects undertaken in Italy.

It is projected to stand 64 meters above sea level, carrying a double six-lane highway and four tracks for a high-speed railway line.

The project is popular with Sicilian politicians and administrators, but has been criticized by environmentalists as a waste of money.

"Finalmente!" Ever wonder why it has taken decades and decades to finally arrive at the decision to build this damned bridge Because the Mafia had forbid it!

Why? It's a little known secret that the state run ferry boats that travel between the Italian mainland and Sicily are run by the Mafia and corrupt southern Italian politicians.

They have always blocked every initiative to finance and build it. That was until unexpected compromises arose that no one could have refused:

- The costly bridge will be mostly financed by the European Union which means the Italian gov't will not be burdened by the high costs and eventual friction between political parties. And all the regional governments in the south that will benefit from the bridge will share in the profit taking,

- Two rival Mafia clans (Cosa Nostra & 'Ndrangheta) came to a historic agreement to work together on the bridge's construction.

Better 50 years late than never...


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Italy Unveils Pizza In a Cone

Rome - April 16, 2004 - In the innermost recesses of an exclusive school for top chefs, Italians have been plotting a devastating counter-strike against the hot dog and the hamburger as the emperors of fast food.

US supremacy on a battlefield stretching from stadium terraces to railway platforms has been assured by the unique portability of its fare. Unique, that is, until the arrival of the hand-held pizza.

Thanks to Rossano Boscolo, whose cone-shaped creation was unveiled yesterday at an exhibition in Milan, slobs the world over can walk, talk and eat pizza at the same time without having to worry about dribbling mozzarella or slithery slices of tomato.

Isabo Rinaldi, spokeswoman for the inventor's company, Boscolo Etoile, said the first outlet for Konopizzas had opened without publicity in the northern Italian city of Bergamo on March 27. It would be followed by at least six more in different parts of Italy.

"A contract is being signed with a big British company to take the Konopizza to the UK," she added.

The pizza takes three minutes to cook in a special oven, also designed at Mr. Boscolo's training school. "He put a lot of study into finding ways to make sure that neither the mozzarella nor the tomatoes released water," Ms Rinaldi said.

"He's also managed to ensure the dough stays crunchy. The result is that your hands stay clean."

This weapon of mess destruction is available in several varieties, including the classics margherita and capricciosa, and costs 1.80 Euros ($2.15).

But she denied that it had been conceived as a challenge to US gastronomic hegemony.

"All that Mr. Boscolo did was to take aspects of two quintessentially Italian food products, the pizza and the ice cream, and combine them," she said.

"Dio Mio!" This will become very big in Italy. Why? Because we've come up with wackier food inventions:

- French Fries Hero: hero sandwich filled with French fries and topped off with ketchup and mayonnaise. It's very popular with teenagers in the south.

- Calamari Hero: hero sandwich filled with fried calamari.

- Arancine: Fried rice balls (size of softballs) filled with rice, peas and chopped meat.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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