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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"Wanted: More Italian Children"  


What's the secret ingredient to your favorite Italian dishes? Angela's Italian Organic Oregano! It's grown on the only certified organic oregano farm in Italy. One order contains 7 bags of beautifully bunched organic oregano, still on their small branches, for a total of over 175 grams (over 6 ounces). Just 10.99 Euros!

Give it a try for your upcoming barbecues! You'll taste & smell the difference!

"Ciao-Ciao!" Welcome to another non-politically correct issue of "Only In Italy!"

"Buon Giorno!" This is a special issue dedicated to our readers who are currently single.

We need children!

That's right! Italy really needs children. The birth rate in Italy is the second lowest in the western world and it hasn't improved even with the sincere begging from the Pope and his "rediscovering our mission as parents".

So, stop by your favorite bookstore and pick up a few books on traveling in Italy, cookbooks and language CDs (some Italian designer clothes would also be helpful). Afterwards, get on a plane, fly over to Italy and repopulate our country. Please! We would greatly appreciate it.

Thank God! You're back! I have been revived! I now realize that I have become an just a few short weeks I came to depend on "Only in Italy" to start my day off with a good laugh or two. Now I can take off that black band I have been wearing on my arm, and send the wailing women home to make bread or something! Grazie! Rose

Thanks for your letter, Rose. By the way, are you single? If yes, then please get over here and lend us a hand repopulating. Tell those wailing women to forget the bread baking and come over too so they can perform some other type of baking. Italy will thank you for it.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Where Have All the Bambini Gone?

Naples - April 18, 2004 - The village of Laviano, in the south of Italy near Naples, used to be overrun with children under 5. Today, you have to search very hard to find any youngsters at all. The school is almost empty and the playground is silent.

Thirty years ago, the village, which now has a population of 1,500, saw as many as 70 babies born every year. In 2002, there were only four births. That sad statistic is repeated in many of the more than 40,000 small towns and villages across Italy.

The birth rate of 1.23 children per woman in Italy is the second lowest in the Western world. Women rarely have more than one child.

The government seems as perplexed by the situation as the pope, who two years ago begged Italians to "rediscover their mission as parents." His plea fell on deaf ears. The Italians, the most solidly Catholic group in Europe, ignored his request to have more children, just as they have ignored his teaching on the sinfulness of contraception.

"Italians," as one demographer put it, "have not given up sex. They have merely given up procreation."

The government's response has been to try to bribe couples into having babies. Last year, Roberto Maroni, the labor and welfare minister, offered 1,000 euros, about $1,200, to every woman who had a second child. Maroni last week announced that he would make a similar payment to every woman who gave birth for the first time.

Rocco Falivena, the mayor of Laviano, went one better, and last year offered women 10,000 euros, about $12,000 for each additional baby.

Italian economists and statisticians are puzzling over what incentives would be sufficient to make Italian women have additional children. Letizia Mencarini, a statistics professor at the University of Florence, questioned more than 3,000 mothers from five cities to find out what would persuade them.

She found that the more the father was involved in the chores of looking after the child and household, the more likely his wife was to want and have a second baby. And, she suggested, Italian men want their wives to look after them as their mothers did. That "has a significant effect on lowering the likelihood that a woman will have a second child."

Lucia Pannunzio, a teacher in Vastrogirardi, believes the situation would improve if only Italian men could be persuaded to change. "They think a mama is better than a wife," she says. "You can't blame young women for delaying a marriage in which they will have to take over from their mother-in-law and do all the domestic work for no reward. Our mothers did it but this generation won't put up with it."

"Mamma mia!" How did the Pope find his way into my bedroom and why is he telling me what to do in there?

The official reasons why Italians are not having babies is because the economic and work conditions of the average Italian family cannot permit it.

The unofficial reasons are the following:

1. ugly Italian people,
2. not enough sex,
3. cold water.

Armani: Production Away From China if Piracy Continues

Milan - April 19, 2004 - Giorgio Armani's production in China will be stopped if forced to it by piracy. "The counterfeit remains a problem in China," explained the designer, who opened a new shop in Shanghai last Saturday.

"I could take away some of the production lines from China, like watches," added Armani, "I have seen some shops use our name and sell other things."

The counterfeit in China, that strikes all kinds of goods, has a turnover equal to 16 billion dollars.

"Porca puttana!" Armani in China?

You used to feel good about wearing Armani's clothes. Now you can't even trust him. Why can't he just produce his products in Italy like he always has? That's what made little Giorgi different from the rest.

He's threatening to stop production lines in China if the counterfeiting continues. "Buona Fortuna!"

His clothes are being illegally reproduced faster than the amount time it takes the average China man to swallow down his daily rice, chicken and vegetables!


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Only from!


Italians May Make 'Small Doses' of Torture Legal

Rome - April 24, 2004 - Torture may be acceptable provided it is administered in small doses, says a bill under discussion in the Italian parliament that has outraged human rights organizations.

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday passed an amendment, tabled by the far-right Northern League, to the bill which opposition MPs denounced as a green light to "limited" torture but which government supporters said was essential for police.

The amendment says violence and threats must be used repeatedly to qualify as torture. The League said the previous wording had been influenced by police violence at the G8 summit in Genoa three years ago.

"We have to make it clear that we don't support those who want to criminalize the police, making their job practically impossible," said Carolina Lussana, the League MP who drafted the amendment.

Marco Bertotto, the chairman of Amnesty International in Italy, said the law did not respect the terms of a United Nations convention on torture which was ratified by Italy in 1988.

Hmmm... Italian police do need a little freedom to smack around these fiends. After all, what's good in being an Italian cop if you can't abuse your power every once in a while?

And why not?

Take tourists, for example:

Tourists come over to Italy and complain about how dirty and smelly the train stations are. Thatís because tourists, homeless people and drunk teens use them as bathrooms. People actually think Italian cops are thrilled to have to carry toilet paper in their holsters so they can help these people go to the bathroom. 

They have completely emasculated our police departments!

The truth is Italian cops have been beating people all through history. It started back in the old days of Emperor Nero. Thereís nothing really wrong with it and it's not a question of racism. Thereís not a billy club in Italy that doesnít have chunks of skin and hair on it from all creeds, colors, religions and races.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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