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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May 2004
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"Riots Ruining Italian Marriages"  


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"Buon Giorno a Tutti!" Welcome to another heart-warming issue of "Only In Italy!"

Dear "Only In Italy",

Regarding OLIVE OIL: Loved your information about REAL olive oil, I have been trying to convince 'mia moglia' to always use the Extra Virgin for everything and not just in our salads, but I guess this is some progress. Geraldo

Thanks for the letter; Geraldo, and we're happy to see that our shopping and cooking tips are having a great impact on our lovely readers. It has helped the most of us to discover the softer and feminine sides of ourselves.

There is a little unknown reason why the very best olive oil you can buy and use is the "Extra Virgin" type. It is the kind that has been untouched, clean and all wholesome. If you continue to bring home the every day "prostitute" olive oil from that street corner shop, you'll be asking for trouble.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


G8 Riots Slowed Down Sex Drive in Northern Italy

Rome - May 12, 2004 - Riots that dominated a G8 summit in Genoa in 2001 suppressed the sex drive of its residents and led to a sharp decline in births in the city, a study showed on Wednesday.

In the ninth month after the riots, birth rates dropped off 29 percent compared to the average birth rate on the same dates over the three previous years, the study carried out by San Martino hospital showed. Even 11 months after the clashes, birth rates were 20 percent lower.

"Violent demonstrations can cause a stress reaction with negative consequences for sexual drive and reproductive activity," the author of the study, Aldo Franco De Rose, told reporters.

As part of the study, 402 residents were asked if they had had less sex after the riots. A third of respondents said yes and just over half said they suffered from anxiety.

The three-day G8 summit in July 2001 was marred by widespread rioting in which one protester was killed and hundreds injured during pitched street battles with police.

"Sta Pippa!" Italy already has enough problems being a nation with one of the lowest birth rates on the planet. Besides family planning problems, we have to deal with rioters setting the family car on fire!

Causes of Low Birth Rate in Italy:

1.) Poor job market,
2.) Unaffordable housing market,
3.) Health problems,
4.) Evil In-laws,
5.) Ugly people,
6.) Cold water,
7.) "Skin heads" and "Black Blocks" rioting

"I Accept (Not Take) You as My Husband"

Rome - May 25, 2004 - Io prendo te ("I take you") is on the way out. Or rather, it is no longer thought appropriate to the usage, customs and language of modern times. Now, couples who decide to go to the altar will instead say "I accept you as my husband", or "as my wife". In other words, the ritual of Catholic marriage is changing.

The old verb prendo ("I take") was too close to consumerism, whereas the new accolgo ("I accept", or "I welcome") is held to offer speaker and listeners an image of sharing life completely. This is how the change is interpreted by liturgy experts. One of the new features to be introduced is the elective inclusion in the ritual of a special litany of "married saints" through the ages, such as St. Joseph or St. Frances of Rome.

Yesterday morning, during a break at the general assembly of Italian bishops being held in the Vatican, Monsignor Giuseppe Betori announced the modification, explaining that it was the translation into Italian of the second Latin edition of the marriage rite, completed on April 29.

Before approval arrives from the Vatican, which will not happen in the short term, the new marriage ritual will be printed in September "in a combat version", and may be used from the first Sunday in Advent, or November 28. From that day, those who opt for a church wedding will find a number of new developments. These will involve not just the mutual "acceptance", but also other formulae that have already been scrutinized by the experts, and should appear in the text that is ready to go to press. First of all, the aspiring couple will be oriented by the celebrant to three possible options. The first concerns couples who come to the sacrament having completed a "significant path of faith".

After the memory of baptism, which may take place at the baptismal font, a new formula may be recited instead of the questions taken from the old liturgy. The new formula begins with these words, "Having walked the path of betrothal". It concludes with the following invocation, which the couple recite together, "We ask you brothers and sisters to pray with us and for us, so that our family will spread through the world light, peace and joy".

At this point, there is the option of introducing the litany of married saints, a list that includes Zachary and Elizabeth (parents of John the Baptist), Joachim and Anne (parents of Mary), St. Joseph, Aquila and Priscilla (the couple who followed St. Paul), St. Monica (mother of St. Augustine), St. Bridget, St. Frances of Rome and Thomas More. The name of Gianna Beretta Molla, the Milan-born woman who was sainted last Sunday, will certainly also be included. Then will come the formula "I accept you as my wife" and, immediately after this, the blessing of the couple which in the old rite came after the Pater Noster.

For those who have not completed what is called "a significant path of faith", the story is different. Obviously, the situation will vary case by case, but generally those who wish a Catholic marriage but do not practice, will be guided by the priest towards a simpler rite. Above all, the preferred choice, which was already possible, will be to accompany the marriage with the simple rite of the Word, that is without the Eucharist. At the end of the rite, the two newlyweds will be presented with the Bible, as a token of their commitment to deepen their faith.

Finally, nothing will change in the third case, a marriage in which one of the partners is unbaptised.

"Grazie! Finalmente!" It's about time the Vatican showed a little respect towards people who become mentally disabled due to the unfortunate disease called "amore" and unknowingly take the plunge into marriage.

"I accept you as my husband";
- and your cheap Neapolitan after-shave that smells like a mixture of olive oil and gasoline.
- and your Chianti wine breath.
- even though you insist that I stop aging.
- even though your toupee looks like a floating otter.
- even though your face would make the blind Italian children cry.
- even though you insist to wear your shirts half-buttoned.

"I accept you as my wife";
- even though you hassle me more than Pavlovís dogs ever were.
- even though you look like you did the 100-meter dash in a 90-meter gym.
- even though you pace yourself like a slug.
- even though you always look like you're in your ninth month of pregnancy.
- even though you insist you have to live better than Cleopatra did.
- even though your rear hangs like "Tiramisu".


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A Tiny Corner of Italy That Hasn't Forgotten America's Sacrifices

Nettuno - May 18, 2004 - There is a piece of land along the coast an hour south of Rome that is a shrine to America. It is a lovely piece of land, well designed and well maintained, that spreads out over nearly 80 acres. It is big enough so that the men who do such things need seven days to cut its grass.

It is the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial. Buried here are 7,862 Americans who died in combat in this country during World War II. Each lies buried with a marble headstone that is cleaned twice a year, by hand, with pumice stone and soap. There is a man who trims the hedges every morning. Another roams the grounds to look for weeds.

Angelo Perna is the chief gardener. He is deeply tanned, with a face that is the color of a football. His hands are dark and rough, and he is missing an incisor from his bottom row of teeth.

Mr. Perna, 51, is not that interested in politics. But when you tend the graves of dead Americans, politics will sometimes intervene.

He has watched the buses pull up to the gates, and the tourists in their sun hats wander out to walk among the marble rows or lay a flower by a grave. "The people in these graves sacrificed their lives to give Italians liberty," he said. "There's a lot of talk about the war now, but maybe they are looking to the past."

Italy, like most of Europe, has been outraged by the images of Iraqi men in hoods and handcuffs, strapped to electrical devices or chained to bars in front of dogs. Some in the opposition here have called on Rome to cancel President Bush's visit to Italy in June. The other day, a cartoon on the front page of the country's leading paper showed the Statue of Liberty burning the feet of an Arab with her torch.

An Italian soldier died in combat this spring, yet the country has maintained its deep devotion to America, a warm regard that has not cooled in the chilly winds of war. The country has about 3,000 soldiers in Iraq and the government has promised they will stay.

"There is a general sentiment that the United States has made a terrible error managing the war," said Renato Mannheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Milan. "But there is - and there has always been - a favorable attitude toward the U.S. as a whole."

No sane man likes war, but war is never sane. "It would have been better if there hadn't been a war," said Mr. Perna, "but you can't do anything about it now. If someone attacks you, you have to react."

The cemetery gets about 200,000 visitors a year, mostly non-Americans. The Italians are the steadiest contingent and their visits have not stopped, even since the war.

"The Italians always come," said Joseph Bevilacqua, the cemetery's baseball-capped superintendent. "What we're getting lots more of now are the former Eastern Bloc people - Czechs, Poles, Kosovars and such."

This spring, an Italian judge exonerated three Egyptians who had been on trial for a plot to desecrate the cemetery. Mr. Bevilacqua said that sort of thing was pretty rare.

He also said the locals by and large liked the cemetery. "We're probably the biggest employer in Nettuno. You don't spit on the plate you use to eat."

Mr. Perna has been working here since 1986, when he moved north from the town of Avellino after finishing his gardening degree. His paycheck comes from the American Embassy. He has never been to America, although he said he wants to go.

"Newahmpshur," he said in a thick Italian accent. "Maz-ah-chu-zetz." He learned these names from reading the graves.

In the last two decades, he has seen two American presidents, Bill Clinton and the first George Bush.

It seems that Mr. Perna's staff is always doing something, whether trimming trees, washing windows, raking leaves or messing with their trucks. The place is immaculate: green fields, brown limbs, white crosses. An elliptical reflecting pool stands down a gravel pathway from a large memorial with maps and charts of the Italian campaign.

Outside the memorial, a man was scraping at the metal trim, which he said he eventually means to bronze. "We started this morning," he said and sighed. "It will take two days."

Outside the office is a logbook in which visitors have praised the cemetery's beauty and the sacrifice for which it stands. It is only natural that visitors to such a place would say good things about America. Things like: "Thank you." "Thanks to the American people." "Thanks."

Back among the graves, Mr. Perna was spraying weed-killer on the grass behind the stone of Private Anthony De Cillis, 157th Infantry, 45th Division, killed on May 27, 1944. Down the aisle were other men and boys from Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan, Ohio. Mr. Perna stopped and said: "They have been buried here so long, they are Italians now."

Sicily hasn't forgotten either...Thank You.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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