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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"Ever Eat a Real Authentic Pizza?"

(05/06/04)

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"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to another informative issue for enthusiasts of Italian culture, "Only In Italy!"

While the UN is hard at work trying to outline specific guidelines to help resolve the complicated Iraq issue, Italy has been putting its efforts trying to protect its cuisine across the European Union. It is starting with the pizza.

While the rest of the sane world is preoccupied for the constant threat of terrorism, Italian pizza makers, politicians and the modern-day proletariat have focused on a larger topic that threatened them all: Neapolitan pizza was under attack, facing impostors worldwide.

As one Neapolitan pizza maker, Alfonso Cucciniello, put it: "Everyone in the world is trying to do this type of pizza. In Japan, in China, in the United States, in Miami..."

"Pizza with pineapples?" he asked. "That's a cake."

At the strange request of the "Association of Real Neapolitan Pizza", a group with over 2,500 members worldwide, lawmakers and officials of the administration of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi recently acted to put some political weight behind an ancient dish made with green, red and white ingredients, the colors of the Italian flag. A law was passed in May. A nation of pizza makers gave thanks.

Yes! Only in Italy!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

 

Italian Magistrates Go On Strike, Again

Rome - May 25, 2004 - Berlusconi and the magistrates have clashed repeatedly. Magistrates in Italy are beginning a three-day strike against reforms.

They say the government proposals undermine their independence and career prospects and do little to speed up the notoriously-slow judicial system.

But the government says the measures which would make magistrates choose to be either prosecutors or judges would make justice fairer and swifter.

PM Silvio Berlusconi has often accused the judiciary of being left-wing and of plotting to force him from office.

The strike is something of a show of force by Italy's magistrates in the face of reforms they say will undermine their autonomy and give the executive excessive control.

Snail's pace

They say the package of measures is in contrast to the constitution and does little to tackle the real issue, the snail's pace of Italian justice.

There are huge backlogs in most courts and an average trial takes at least a couple of years to reach a first verdict before any appeals.

The government maintains that splitting the magistrates clearly into judging or investigative bodies is vital for a fair trial.

It also argues that the prosecutors currently have too much power and at times abuse it.

Loggerheads

The judiciary and the government have been at loggerheads for three years now.

The overheated climate is not helped by the fact that Mr. Berlusconi, who was on trial in Milan for alleged corruption, has publicly accused some magistrates of trying to oust him by a political use of judicial probes.

He has also passed a law allowing trials to be shifted if there is a legitimate suspicion of court bias, as well as a bill giving himself immunity from prosecution which was later thrown out by the constitutional court.

"Porca puttana!" What a shock. Another protest...

Yes, it's true that there are huge backlogs in most Italian courts but the average trial takes at least 4-5 years to reach a first verdict and NOT the 2 years as stated in the article. Regardless, it's too late!

Italy spawned these magistrates.
"Dio Mio!" We created them!
We can't abandon these lonely children.

This so much proves the famous saying, "politics make strange bedfellows".

Unfortunately, we don't understand what that means.


Italy Announces Strict Pizza-Making Guidelines

Rome - May 26, 2004 - Pizza-makers beware! Italy has outlined specific guidelines to protect the real Neapolitan pizza from bogus copies.

The regulations by the Agriculture Ministry touch on everything from size to ingredients to the type of oven. They will enable rule-abiding restaurants in Italy to get a special label attesting that real pizza can be eaten there.

But the initiative is broader, part of Italy's efforts to protect its cuisine across the European Union, although it was not immediately clear what steps would be taken in Brussels for enforcement.

The guidelines, eight articles printed Tuesday in the country's Official Gazette, rule that real Neapolitan pizza must be round, no more than 14 inches in diameter, no thicker than 0.1 inches in the middle and with a crust of about 0.8 inches.

"The texture must be soft, elastic, easily foldable," the guidelines said.

The norms specify what kind of flour, yeast, tomatoes, oil must be used in the real pizza.

They recognize only three types of real Neapolitan pizza: Marinara, with garlic and oregano; Margherita, with mozzarella cheese from the southern Apennines and basil; extra-Margherita, which requires fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella from Campania, the region that includes pizza's hometown, Naples.

The dough must be rolled out manually, and do not even think about electric ovens: the real pizza is only baked in wooden ovens that can reach the required temperature of 905 degrees Fahrenheit.

The regulations were approved after surveying pizza-makers in Naples and surrounding areas. Restaurants that abide by those rules will get a label saying that their pizza is a Guaranteed Traditional Specialty.

"These norms protect one of the most ancient and most important gastronomic traditions," said the president of a pizza-makers' association, Antonio Pace, also the owner of one of Naples' oldest pizza restaurants.

"We don't want the others not to make pizza, only we want them to make it as we make it "as it should be done," he said Wednesday.

Italy news agency estimated that out of 23,000 pizza restaurants in Italy which make 56 million pizzas each week about 200 would seek the tag immediately. But Pace said he expects the vast majority of restaurants to adjust to the laid-out rules to get the label.

Many Italian papers devoted a front-page story Wednesday to the pizza rules, described the move as "an act of love, but a desperate one."

"Pizza is now a stateless, boundless, flag-less food," it said.

"Sta minchia!" Isn't it amazing the amount of free time the Agriculture Ministry of Italy has?

Of course, the Italian government can worry about the prevention of listeria, e coli, salmonella and botulism but why bother? What is more important is that real pizza has to be perfectly ROUND!

So, according to these new guidelines, 98% of the entire world has eaten fake pizza or bread with tomato sauce and melted cheese. This is not fair and, as a consumer, you deserve your money back!

The next time you eat at your favorite Italian pizzeria or restaurant, take a ruler with you and measure your pizza. If you find that your pizza is not 14 inches in diameter, thicker than 0.1 inches in the middle and cooked in a gas oven, then complain to the manager and demand that you not pay for the meal. Accuse the establishment of false advertising and fraud!

Then ask for dessert and after-dinner drinks on the house to help get over the shocking dining experience and trauma.

 

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Eternal City Says Nothing Too Sacred to Raise Money

Rome's best monuments disappearing behind ads as city cleans up peeling palazzi and flaking frescoes

Rome - May 30, 2004 - Little did the Roman workers who built the Pantheon imagine that their giant temple would still be standing 2,000 years later. They certainly could never have imagined it draped with Versace models and glistening BMWs.

But now, as the Rome authorities search for funds to keep the Eternal City in good repair, some of the world's most famous brands are eyeing the Pantheon, one of Rome's oldest and most visited monuments. They want to use its walls as advertising space.

The authorities have signed a deal with a billboard firm to pay for the Pantheon and 48 other treasures to be smartened up. They say they have no other option.

Although Italy is one of the most artistically rich countries in the world, and tourism one of the country's greatest financial assets, its Cultural Goods Ministry has a smaller proportion of the budget than equivalent ministries in France and Germany.

'We have the world's largest (cultural) heritage, but the resources of a Third World (country),' Culture Minister Giulio Urbani recently complained.

Advertising has already tempted authorities to less well-known sites. A quick tour of Rome shows that one giant advert is attached to almost every landmark. In the old market square, Campo dei Fiori, a huge pistachio-green Vespa moped is riding across the front of one building, reminding potential buyers that 'even the wind likes to be caressed'.

Off the square, a giant baby wearing a leopard-skin nappy is promoting Radio Monte Carlo. A BMW estate car looms large where the Trinita dei Monti church ought to be at the top of the Spanish Steps. A hundred yards from the balcony where Mussolini addressed the crowds in Piazza Venezia, there is a huge lollipop message from L'Oréal. In the Vatican, at the edge of St Peter's Square, Mercedes hails the pope with the message that 'not all dreams disappear at dawn'.

But the Pantheon plan is the first ancient Roman monument to be considered as an advertising opportunity. The plan has great potential, both for publicity and controversy.

The domed temple built in AD 80 and converted into a church around 609 is seen by most of the estimated 10 million tourists who visit the Italian capital each year. It is surrounded by cafes and restaurants in the Piazza Rotondo, a favorite gelato stop.

Under the new deal, advertising firm InterPromos hopes the 700,000 Euro restoration will take place before the end of the year. Work is likely to last at least a year, during which scaffolding will be covered with an enormous advert, rotating through different companies. At night it will be illuminated.

InterPromos spokesman Carlo Sinopoli believes advertising controlled by law to limit the space and time adverts can be displayed can help make Italy 'all new and shiny'.

'We hope that, if the Pantheon project goes well, we can do the same with the Colosseum. And, who knows, maybe the leaning tower of Pisa one day,' he told reporters.

But archaeology chief Adriano la Regina believes there is no restoration going on behind most of the mega-adverts in Rome. For him, the Pantheon plan is the latest, most flagrant scam.

'Buildings are being restored just so adverts can be displayed. There is one palazzo in the Piazza Venezia that has been restored three times in the past few years,' he said.

But officials are not the only ones in favor of the advertising solution. Italia Nostra, a pressure group which campaigns to preserve Italy's heritage, believes the short-term 'visual disturbance' of giant adverts is a small price to pay for monuments to be restored.

'Sadly the days are gone when rich benefactors used to donate millions for the love of art,' said Vanna Mannucci, vice-president of Italia Nostra in Rome. 'Unfortunately our politicians are myopic. It has not entered their DNA yet that monuments are the best thing Italy has, so they are worth investing in.'

In the absence of funds and with flaking frescoes and peeling palazzi all over Italy, Mannucci is pragmatic. 'It's time to understand, the rich monuments must be made to pay for the poorer ones.'

She is delighted that the Pantheon advertisers will be obliged to fund works on more obscure buildings. 'I'm sorry for the tourists who turn up and find they can't see a monument, only an advert. But for the next 20 years or more everyone else will see it. Someone has to compromise.'

"Ma vaffanculo!" Just another example of how there is no shame in Italian society!

When the great Emperor Hadrian built the Pantheon in AD 118, there was no need to make calls to Sony and Versace for cash.

We're sure that Italy won't stop here because the government's absolute brilliance has been known to spread like a putrid fever.

How about sticking McDonald's arches on the Roman Coliseum? Buy an entrance ticket to the Coliseum and get a free "Happy Meal".

How about going for a nice test drive of a new BMW 5 Series in St. Peter's Square?

How about an 'Adidas' T-shirt on Michelangelo's David?

 

Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
 
 
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