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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"You Can't Cheat on Me!" 


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"Ciao!" Welcome to the only newsletter that sends shivers behind the Vatican walls, "Only In Italy!"

"Buon Giorno" to our most humble and caring readers. We sincerely appreciate all the feedback we've received for our "Where have all the bambinos gone?" article. We've received lots of helpful advice and hints on how we can resolve our low birth rate problem. Although, after you read today's issue, you'll probably understand why its better not...

Do you support families with babies? I've sent the article, "Where have all the bambinos gone?", to my daughter and her husband, who are awaiting the arrival of their seventh child and eldest daughter's second. If they lived in Italy would I still be a great-grandmother? Or, in my opinion, just great? Carol

Thanks for touching your letter, Nonna Carol (talk about going from one extreme to the next). What does your daughter do in her spare time?

Your daughter's family would fit perfect in Italy's society. You practically have a typical Italian baker's family from the 1940's. All your grandkids could be pumping out bread and pastries, your daughter and her husband could serve the customers and your job could be to hide the profit money from the politicians & fascists, complain about your health and how Italy is crumbling down.

That's Italian!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Court Says No Cheating Allowed on Workaholic Spouse

Rome - November 4, 2004 - Workaholic men take heart and neglected women take note. An Italian court has ruled that a wife has no justification to cheat on her husband simply because he is always at the office. That was the essence of sentence number 10,977 issued on Tuesday by the Court of Cassation, Italy's highest court. 

Italian newspapers dubbed it the Stakhanov sentence, after the Soviet industrial worker Alexei Stakhanov who received special recognition for exceeding production targets. Although adultery stopped being a crime in traditionally Catholic Italy 30 years ago, the sentence made clear that the courts still considered it morally wrong. 

The woman, Annamaria, from the eastern Adriatic city of Ancona, had contested a lower court ruling that said she should be held responsible for the breakdown of her marriage and subsequent separation. Annamaria, whose husband's occupation was not disclosed, said her marriage broke down because her husband was always at work and because her mother-in-law was just too much to take. 

Annamaria started an affair with an Italian air force official. Her husband, Giorgio, found a picture of his wife's lover in her handbag and an incriminating letter in her chest of drawers. The Rome high court confirmed the lower court's ruling that Annamaria's adultery could not be justified by the fact that her husband was always at work. 

His absence from home did not constitute a violation of his conjugal duties, the court said. The high court also confirmed that Annamaria was not eligible for separation alimony because she, in the court's view, had caused the marriage to collapse.

"Mi dispiace!" All of us here at the news office would like to apologize to all the women in the world on behalf of the Cassation Court judges in Rome who have sent back the Women's Movement approximately 132 years.

Ladies, take the word from stupid men. I don't know what desperate woman started the legend that we're the best Latin lovers.

-Most of us look like we did the 100-meter dash in a 90-meter gym.
-We drink so much wine that our alcoholic breath becomes birth control.
-Our arses hang like old couches.
-And we love to "poop plenty" about our politics.

Hitting Back At the Mafia with Wine and Pasta

Monreale - May 25, 2004 - Forget about French vintage wine that can set you back a weekís pay. If you really want to impress guests and spice up the table talk, try a bottle of Sicilian red from vineyards that once belonged to Mafia dons.

And what better way to gastronomic seduction than to flatter your flame by preparing a dinner of pasta made from wheat grown in a former hit-manís field.

The sauce, of course, must come from tomatoes and olives you just canít refuse - also grown on former Mafia estates.

The produce is the result of a project known as the "Consortium of Hope" which puts lands and villas confiscated from the Mafia to good use by creating jobs for unemployed youth, teaching people new trades, and most of all, raising the anti-Mafia consciousness.

"Cosa Nostra has an immense patrimony that was a symbol of power and intimidation. We are transforming it into rural hospitality centers, vineyards, farms and summer camps," said Salvino Caputo, mayor of the town of Monreale.

"We felt it was vital that the land did not languish barren and empty," he said in an interview in his office.

"If it had, the message to the people would have been: when the Mafia owns the land, it is cultivated and provides jobs. When the state owns it, it is useless," he said.

Caputo is one of eight Sicilian mayors involved in the project in the territories of towns famous for their Mafia heritage, including Corleone of "The Godfather" film fame.

From crime to cuisine

One such metamorphosis from crime to cuisine took place at the Temple of Mount Jato, a rural restaurant high up on the hills overlooking the lush green Jato valley.

A country property once owned by Mafia boss Giuseppe Agrigento is now throbbing with weekend diners who come to the area to visit a famous Greek archaeological site nearby.

It employs 10 people, some of them young and with difficult backgrounds. They cook, serve the food and cultivate the land.

Every year the cooperative produces some 20,000 bottles of wine whose label boasts: "From Sicilian land confiscated from the Mafia." It is a message in a bottle if there ever was one.

The label of the white wine gives the word chilling a whole new meaning.

Graced by a drawing of a boy looking up at the sun, it is a tribute to Giuseppe di Matteo, a 13-year-old who was killed in 1996 and his body dissolved in acid to punish his Mafioso father for turning statesí evidence.

"Itís been hard work and the bureaucracy sometimes makes us regret it but we see this as a redemption of our land, of the honest part of Sicily," said Giuseppe Randazzo, who runs the Monte Jato cooperative.

Wine, pasta and sauces made on confiscated land are sold in stores in Italy and abroad. The wine costs about six euros ($7) a bottle in Italy.

Jailhouse wheat

Former Mafia super-boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina, who was arrested in 1993 after nearly a quarter of a century on the run, received a package in his jail cell several years ago. It contained only a stalk of wheat.

Riina, who was known as "the Beast," had been accustomed to sending cryptic messages rather than receiving them: a sheepís head here, a dead fish there.

The message was: Dear Toto, we have confiscated your land in Corleone. We are growing wheat there. We are making pasta from it and we are selling the pasta to help anti-Mafia programs.

"I sent it to him for my own satisfaction," Caputo said.

An eight hectare (20 acres) estate of vineyards and woodland once owned by Giovanni Brusca, the man who killed Di Matteo, was equipped with an artificial lake in an area that often suffers from drought. He had secretly tapped into Monrealeís municipal water system.

The property is destined to be a summer camp.

Another estate once owned by the Brusca family is now a home to help juvenile delinquents get back on the right track.

In Sicily, land is power, even if the landlord is in jail. For a Mafioso, jail time is a professional liability, even a mark of honor. Losing land is tantamount to moral castration.

It has not all been easy going for the consortium, however. Fear grows in Sicily just as well as grapes or wheat.

Caputo said that when cooperatives were starting up, tractors were stolen and the Mafia sent herds of sheep onto the land to try show that they were still in control.

In another case, the Mafia put pressure on local farmers not to rent their wheat threshers to a cooperative. Police found the only free thresher in the area.

The cooperatives are obliged to tell police if they receive threats from the Mafia or they risk being shut down.

And the Mafia would not be the Mafia if it were not clever.

When a group asked to form a farm cooperative on confiscated land, background checks showed that they were Mafiosi.

"They have very sharp minds," Caputo said. "They were thrown out the door and tried to get back in through the window. But we stopped them." 

Hmmm... Does one really have to take the risk of being added to a hit list over a plate of plain spaghetti and cheap red wine?

What would your reaction be if you rented out one of these confiscated villas for a family vacation and you find a horse's head in your bed?

"I didn't order this! Where's the manager?

Is this included in the vacation package deal?"

Don't forget to tip the bus boys well because they all could be possibly armed.

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70% Of Neapolitans Are Scared and Fear For Their Lives

Rome - April 29, 2004 - Napoli 'by night' appears to be unsafe for the majority of its residents, according to a survey conducted by Eurispes on Naples and it's surroundings, which company president Gian Maria Fara defines "a unique analysis of the criminal phenomena in Italy today" caused by the "pervasive" presence of the Camorra (Neapolitan Mafia).

About 70 pct of Neapolitans - according to Eurispes - feel unsafe going out alone in the evening, while 26.9 pct feel unsafe going out alone even during the day. Crime is the most serious problem in the city for 47.4 pct of the respondents. In all, 90.3 pct of the total sample (2000 citizens and stratified by sex, age category and area) feel that the problem of juvenile delinquency makes the city unsafe and only 7.8 pct thinks differently.

The data emerged from a study on the perception of legality and safety among citizens called "Crime, safety, and juvenile delinquency in Naples: analysis of a complex city.

"Mamma mia!" They're not kidding!

Our news staff once toured Naples. We thought we were in deep Africa. We had to put mosquito nets over our heads because we couldnít believe where we were.

The mystery of 'Stonehenge' is easier to understand than Naples' water and sewer systems. Neapolitanos flush everything but the cat.

And their music?! All the songs sound exactly alike!

I donít know why they put pauses between the songs. It should just be one giant song. They glorify sadness, misery, funerals, mothers and cheating partners. Their greatest contribution to the music world is Nino D'Angelo.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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