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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"Rent a Roman Cave!"


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"Che bella giornata!" Welcome to another air-conditioned issue of "Only In Italy!"

Ciao! I love your work, and above all, your Italy. Can you give me some advice on finding work there? Is it really that difficult? Annette

If you put our lunacy aside, you'll find that Italy is actually a beautiful place to live in. You should only seriously consider moving to Italy to live and work if you are young (under 30), single, very resourceful, resilient, insured, adequately qualified, experienced, can speak some Italian and have a good university degree. These qualities will allow you to take damage in Italy, yet recover and return home safely if things don't work out, and still have time to resume a 'normal' life and career at home again.

The idea of having 'nothing to lose' is a bunch of Italian baloney. If you do not meet the above criteria, there is a lot to lose. Don't burn your bridges back home until you're sure you have a firm job offer and a decent income and standard of living lined up, and even then, be careful before you commit yourself. Think it over well and plan very carefully.

Secondly, you will usually have to actually come to Italy first to find a job here. Unless you're an absolutely top professional aiming for absolutely top jobs, or are being placed here anyway by an international company or agency you already work for, you'll just have to take the risk, spend some money and take an extended leave here in Italy in order to find something. Job leads and accurate local business information is very hard to come by if you're not actually based in Italy. Unless you are very well connected, you canít do it by calling from across the ocean, or just by writing letters.

We even know of Italians who lived abroad for some years and then wanted to relocate back to Italy, but to successfully find a job here, they just had to bite the bullet, take an extended holiday, and move here bodily in order to search for jobs properly.

For most good jobs here you will need to be able to speak Italian like a native, if only to get through the interview, though if you are bilingual Italian/English with only moderate Italian capability you may have a good chance at lower-grade jobs, or in some companies that have an international outlook. So learn some Italian if you haven't already. Even just a little would be something.

If you can already speak Italian well, that is almost certain to get you a foot in the door if you are determined enough. Once safely in an Italian job, you can slowly work the grapevine of bilingual jobs here, which is where the bigger money tends to be.

You could just stick to seeking work with companies here that specifically hire English-speaking employees. In theory, there are loads of them here, international companies etc. The list would be endless. But it's a poor strategy, and the problem is finding them, and then finding one which actually wants to hire an English speaking employee at the moment of your arrival.

There are many British and American companies based here, but usually they only employ a tiny percentage of actual English-speaking staff. To find such a position, you would really have to get to Italy first, and then go through the local Italian telephone directory with a fine-tooth comb, picking out all the British and American companies you've heard of, or names that sound Brit or American, then phone or mail them all with your CV to ask if they actually use English speaking staff.

Hope this helps, Annette, and "buona fortuna"!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


In Rome, a Cave Can Be "Home Sweet Home"

Rome - July 5, 2004 - The cave home of Todor Velikov is a room with no view, but it does have the advantage of zero rent and historical pedigree.

Velikov is a Bulgarian migrant laborer who, along with thousands of other clandestine arrivals to Rome, has taken up residence among the nooks and crannies of an ancient city filled with out-of-the-way hideouts. The newcomers inhabit abandoned houses, construction sites, parks, the undersides of bridges, Roman ruins and, in Velikov's case, a hole on a hillside, actually, a 2nd-century grotto that once sheltered images of Roman gods.

Once a stopover on the way to wealthier northern nations, Italy is becoming a permanent destination. It formerly resisted accepting foreigners but is now emerging as a welcoming host. Under laws issued by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the number of residency permits granted last year exploded to 630,000, almost triple that of the year before, according to Interior Ministry statistics.

The East European accent is notable in the cave suburb where Velikov and a fellow Bulgarian, Pyotor Desislav, live, just below the stylish Parioli neighborhood. Except for the presence of a few native homeless people, most of about 20 grottoes are inhabited by citizens of former Communist bloc countries. "We have a little Warsaw Pact here," said Desislav, referring to the defunct Soviet military alliance. "We all get along. We're just trying to save money."

Velikov, an elevator repairman who has lived in Italy for six years, said he chose the cave over rental housing because of its convenience. "There are lots of stores nearby where I do my shopping," he said.

He said he sometimes considers going back to Bulgaria, but then thinks, "Why should I leave? Look where I live. This is a good place." He has lived in the cave for 18 months, after wandering from temporary home to temporary home.

Desislav's cave was decorated with a Daffy Duck movie poster, a billboard for a Roman bookstore, wall-to-wall carpeting and dried flowers. There was a place to shower in one corner, a fireplace in another. A natural skylight illuminated a small table scavenged from a junkyard. Desislav is a construction worker who has lived in Rome off and on for nine years. He suffered a heart attack recently and is being treated at a Rome hospital. "I can't go back to Bulgaria now," he said. "I would die there. But I can only do light odd jobs now. I'm too weak."

He received a visitor from Moldova, a Russian speaker who joined the cave community recently. "My country is so poor," said the Moldovan, Gregor Artemev, a mechanic. "The only way to make real money is to come here. Rome is an expensive city. If I pay rent, I will make nothing."

"It's warm here," said Daniel, a 22-year-old Romanian computer school graduate who came to Rome in May looking for work. "You can imagine, if you are from the Ukraine, sleeping out in Rome is almost a pleasure."

"Roma Victor!" What's the problem with living in a cave? It's fantastic!

Do you know what they charge for a literal "hole in the wall" in Rome for a week? You could take the same amount of money and refurbish your cave...and you'll live better!

Life was fantastic during Ancient Rome:

Ancient Rome: The upper class Romans enjoyed fresh meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, bread and used honey to sweeten food. A wet towel was handy to tidy up after a meal.

Rome Today: Italians spend approximately 6.2 seconds to gulp down their tiny espresso coffee.

Ancient Rome: The very early Romans wore a toga. It looked like a white sheet 9 yards long. Togas were arranged very carefully, in a stylish way.

Rome Today: If you're not wearing the latest Armani, Prada, or D&G togas, you might as well drown yourself in the Tiber river.

The kids went to school!
Ancient Rome: The school day began before sunrise, as did all work in Rome. Kids brought candles to use until daybreak. There was a rest for lunch and the afternoon siesta, and then back to school until late afternoon. School began each year on the 24th of March. Boys were taught Roman law, history, customs, and physical training, and to prepare for war. Reverence for the gods, respect for law, obedience to authority, and truthfulness were the most important lessons to be taught. Girls were taught to spin, weave, and sew.

Rome Today:
The school day begins at 8:30... for those that go to school.
Kids bring their cell phones... to use all day.
There is an afternoon siesta... that lasts until the next school morning.
Boys are taught... how to do "wheelies" on their scooters.
Girls are taught... to type very fast SMS messages on their cell phones.

Great builders:
Ancient Rome: They built things to last! The Coliseum was built of concrete, faced with stone, as were most amphitheaters. The Romans also used concrete (an ancient Roman invention!) to build the dome of the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to all the Roman gods, which even today is still one of the largest single-span domes in the world (fantastic technology, still analyzed by modern engineers).

Rome Today: The Roman gods still exist today and most of them work at a temple called the "Comune di Roma". If you want to receive one of their very rare building permits, then you'll have to make a unregistered human sacrifice. Then you'll have to make another sacrifice to the gods of cement otherwise your home will begin to fall apart within 5 years.


Sicily Police Arrest Female Mob Bosses in Mafia Blitz

Palermo - July 17, 2004 - Police in Sicily have arrested 23 people suspected of Mafia crimes, including two women accused of heading the clan near the city of Trapani.

The overnight swoop in the northwest of the island followed a two-year investigation, police said on Tuesday. They used sophisticated bugging devices to gather information.

The two women, both wives of known Mafiosi, headed a sort of "management board" that ran a network of extortion rackets in the seaside town of Castellammare del Golfo, police said.

One of the women arrested is accused of being in charge of liaising with jailed Mafia bosses during prison visits, exchanging information by means of secret codes such as underlined letters on labels of bottles of water.

Italian Interior Ministry undersecretary Antonio d' Ali praised the police blitz, codenamed Tempest, as "another positive result" against organized crime in the Trapani region.

"But let us not delude ourselves that we have resolved the problems of Mafia and extortion, particularly in this zone," he added.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that in the vast operation which also involved Milan, Siena and Venice, police had smashed an organization producing and selling in Italy and abroad counterfeit items like false fur coats, electric appliances and paintings.

Revenues from the illegal activities were then recycled and sent back to Italy avoiding anti-money-laundering measures.

"Va bene, tesoro." Just further proof that (Italian) men have become too befuddled to basically function in life. We have to admit we need the cunning and sneaky expertise of the Italian female if the human race is to survive in Sicily.

Whose idea is it to exchange secret messages by underlining letters on labels of bottled water? Men? Of course not! We're too confused and stupid to come up with something brilliant like that. Why do you think Italian women exchange so many recipes?

More proof...

A released study by the National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) shows Italian wives are making more decisions with husbands than ever before.

84.5% wives decide with husband whom to frequent,
83% how to spend free time,
80% how to educate children,
58.8% how to manage savings,

"Cari Signori!" With statistics like these, our private parts should just pack up and leave.


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World War I Bomb Kills Italian Man

Venice - July 17, 2004 - A 70-year-old Italian died on Saturday when a World War I bomb, part of his collection of military memorabilia, exploded while he was showing it to a friend in his garden.

Aldo Busato, a retired farmer, died instantly. The man he was showing the bomb to was seriously injured, the local fire brigade said.

Busato lived in northeastern Italy, the focus of Italian fighting against the Austro-Hungarians in the 1914-1918 war.

"Ma che cazzo fai!"

Aren't these the same people that insist that today's youngsters know nothing, they have no respect for the elderly and that all fireworks should be banned?

They're supposed to teach us how to make great marinara sauce; not how the Italians fought the Austro-Hungarians!

They're supposed to hand down beautiful antique furniture; not beautiful antique explosives!


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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