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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"Cloning and Boring Priests"  


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"Tanti Tanti Grazie!" Welcome to the only newsletter that would have convinced Leonardo da Vinci to dump Mona Lisa and pick a bella babe, "Only In Italy!"

"Buon Giorno" to our fantastic readers. We recently offered some great traveling advice to one of our loyal readers, Geraldo (Jerry), who recently came to visit our wonderful country and this is what he encountered...

Pasquale, grazie for the offer of the "Cannoli and Bocce tournaments", I'll certainly take you up on that offer.

By the way I did heed your warnings about pickpockets, I almost had mine taken by a pretty young girl at the Trevi fountain (Rome). She politely smiled and walked away after I caught her hand halfway into my pocket. A good tip is to not only keep your wallet in your front pocket, but also have an elastic band wrapped around it, to make it more difficult to slip from your pocket. Keep up the warnings. Mille grazie e saluti a tutti. Geraldo

Thanks for the info, Geraldo, and I'm sure our readers who are planning summer trips to Italy will keep your tip in mind.

Also be careful of Italian grandmothers who will give you the evil eye, force feed you lasagna, put an everlasting curse on your family...and then pick your pocket.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

Three Cloned Babies Supposedly Born

Rome - May 6, 2004 - A controversial Italian fertility doctor says three cloned babies have been born, but offered no evidence or details about the alleged births.

Dr Severino Antinori was asked at a press conference about his claims in late 2002 and 2003 that he knew of three women who were carrying cloned babies. Antinori has refused to detail his role in the cases, saying only that he had given a "cultural and scientific contribution" to a consortium of scientists involved in the pregnancies.

Asked yesterday about the status of the three pregnancies, Antinori said: "I know that three went well."

He said three babies had been created by "nuclear transfer", a term he said he preferred to use instead of cloning, which he said had acquired negative connotations. "I confirm this fact exists," he said.

Citing legal and other reasons, he refused to provide further details about the babies, such as where and when they were born and who performed the procedures.

Antinori, who runs a private fertility clinic in Rome, first made headlines in 1994 by helping a post-menopausal 63-year-old woman become pregnant with donor eggs and hormones.

He has said in the past he aimed to be the first to produce a baby cloned from an adult. Members of the scientific establishment have said they don't believe he is technically capable of it, though, and a recent Italian law has made cloning attempts in Italy illegal.

Antinori spoke at a press conference before a conference in Rome on reproductive medicine.

"Che testa di cazzo!" This is what Italian science has accomplished.

The following very important questions will be submitted to Dr. Antinori (aka Dr. Frank N. Beans). We're sure our readers would love to know the answers:

1.) Can a 63-year-old mother breast feed?
2.) How many Italian models would have to be cloned before one would finally say yes to a date?
3.) Would cloning lead to the birth of more Italian political parties seeing that 42 is not enough?
4.) Instead of cloning, could we get an unlikable pain in the ass out of our lives by "nuclear transfer?"

Falling In Love; A Pain-In-The-Ass Experience

Rome - May 5, 2004 - Falling in love, that crazy, blissful feeling, causes gender-bender changes in men and women's testosterone levels.

A study by an Italian researcher shows that when couples fall in love their testosterone levels alter. It falls in men and rises in women so they become more like each other.

"Men who were in love had lower levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, linked to aggression and sex drive, than other men," scientists said on Wednesday.

"Love-struck women, in contrast, had higher levels of testosterone than their counterparts."

Donatella Marazziti, a scientist at the University of Pisa in Italy, made the discovery after studying 24 people in love.

"It's as if nature wants to eliminate what can be different in men and women, because it's important to survive at this stage," she said.

Not all scientists agree with Marazziti's interpretation of the results and some say changing testosterone levels could be a result of increased sexual activity.

But whatever the reason it doesn't last long.

Two years later, when the same people were tested again and were no longer madly in love, their testosterone levels were back to normal.

"L'amore fa schifo!"

Not only do testosterone levels return back to normal after two years, Italian men are going to use this medical finding as an excuse to get out of those tough break-up situations.


And speaking of gender-bender changes, take our cousin, Goffredo, for example:

His unusual Sicilian testosterone levels would reward him with very rare sexual activity. Then after sex, not only would Italian women hate him, they would hate themselves, hate sex and everything about life.


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Priest Goes on Strike Over Empty Church

Rome - April 30, 2004 - Sunday Mass in the tiny village church of Carchitti near Rome is an unremarkable affair.

There is a pianist, a guitarist and a couple of fidgeting choir boys. The congregation, mostly women and restless toddlers, gather to listen to Father Remo Ronci, a sprightly 75-year-old. His performance at the altar is energetic, if a little lengthy, but he is increasingly frustrated that more of his parishioners don't come to hear it. Many who do shuffle off early. To make his point, Father Ronci took the unconventional step of going on strike in April.

"I suspended Mass in our church just before Easter to make people understand. It's logical to intervene when there's a bad situation."

Villagers found a notice pinned to the church door berating their "lack of commitment to religious life."

"Let's face it, people take free time whenever they want to," the priest explains. "They go and play sport and then go out on Saturday nights. But when it comes to Sunday morning, they'd all rather sleep. "I think it's strange people complain Mass is too long. "People will happily take a week off to go to the beach, but a little time for God would be better than making excuses."

There is support for his stance among the congregation.

"I think he did the right thing," says one of them, Maria, who is tucking a squirming child into a push chair. "People round here need shaking up a bit."

There may be pews to spare in the church, but up the road in Carchitti's local bar, you would be lucky to get a seat, even at 11 in the morning.

"No-one here goes to Mass any more because this is an agricultural village," says Gino, a local farmer. "We produce strawberries and nuts so people need to work in the fields. "Our priest is complaining because he wants us all in church every week. "Well it's not possible and he's the only priest to say this. "He talks a lot - in fact he talks too much and this is the main problem."

A murmur of approval and vigorous nodding ripple around the tables. Agata the bartender thinks that even if sermons are boring, the priest should not take matters into his own hands.

"I think it's strange that he cancelled Mass," she says. "It's the first time I have ever heard of a priest going on strike. "Everyone has their own problems, their own work. "When there's time free we don't want to spend it in church - unless of course there are important festivals."

Father Ronci, though, is keen to point out that the church youth scene is still thriving. And with one bout of industrial action under his belt, along with plenty of media attention, he is not ruling out further strikes to get the rest of his flock back in line.

"I would do it again, because I've seen that already I've stirred things up and there's a bit of a debate. "If I stay quiet, what good would that do, and what kind of father is one who doesn't tell his son how to behave? "The son won't thank him in the long run."

"Madonna Santa!" With all respect to the Church, it's unnecessary to put on a Broadway production just to get followers to come and listen to a sermon.

Isn't life difficult enough without a priest serving a Mass and then criticizing Mel Gibson's "Passion" for 3 hours? Italy needs interesting priests, not movie critics.

Oh! And what a shock; another strike in Italy.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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