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.
Subscribe to the  Newsletter:
Today's News
To the archives!
Mail a Mafia Threat!
Letter Samples
Order Stuff!
Why subscribe?
News Samples
Our News Sources
People Are Talking
Italian Resources
Customer Service
Your Privacy
Subscribe to the "Only In Italy" feed! Subscribe!
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My Google
Add to My Netvibes
Digg It!
Follow the News Staff:
"Only In Italy" Italian News & Humor
Adriana's Italian Gourmet Cookies
Caterina Collezione: Handcrafted Italian Sterling Silver Tableware
Angela's Italian Organic Oregano
May 2004
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          
"What To Do About Vesuvius and Cell Phones."


Whole Pistachio Cookies from Sicily! Italian gourmet almond, fig & pistachio cookies baked and shipped from our little bakery in Italy to you; all natural, fresh, and made to order. Soft and chewy cookies with a crisp outside and tender inside. Your cookies are made exclusively from our own homegrown natural almonds, figs, pistachio, the freshest farm eggs, flour, and sugar. Whatever your favorite Italian gourmet cookie is Adriana's bakery will satisfy.


"Buon Estate!" Welcome to the only newsletter in Italy that does not advertise cell phones, "Only In Italy!"

Ciao Pasquale,

This quote by Gucci's wife, "Iíd rather cry in a Rolls-Royce than be unhappy on a bicycle", reminds me of a saying from a late friend of mine. He always said, "It is better to be rich and healthy, than to be poor and sick".

I think this even beats Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake", quote. I wish my Italian were as good as this writer, but not her disposition. I still love Italy and would love to return soon. Saluti a tutti." Geraldo

Thank you for writing, Geraldo!

Just when we thought Gucci's wife would have won the award for best "Proverb of the Decade", we found a few great mental contenders:

"Al contadino non far sapere quanto Ť buono il formaggio con le pere." Don't let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears.

"Amico di tutti e di nessuno e tutt'uno." A friend to all and a friend to none is one and the same.

So, the moral here is... tell your friends not to talk to Italian farmers!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Authorities Pay Italian Families to Flee Threat of New Pompeii Eruption

Naples - July 17, 2004 - Rosario Vignola, his wife, Cira, and their two teenage children were in high spirits yesterday, despite bidding farewell to their home beneath the gaze of Mount Vesuvius, where they have lived for 19 years.

They had just received a £20,000 grant from the authorities to encourage them to move from San Giorgio a Cremano. It is one of 18 towns in greater Naples clinging to the volcano's slopes in the so-called Red Zone considered a high risk in the event of an eruption.

Although Vesuvius, which locals often refer to as The Giant, or more simply and ominously as Lui (Him), seems to be in a slumber, experts say it could erupt at any time. It last blew in 1944, and before that in 1900.

Unlike Mount Etna in Sicily, from which lava streams slowly down in more frequent eruptions, Vesuvius rarely comes to life, but when it does, it tends to explode, often sending out the deadly clouds of gas which overwhelmed Pompeii in AD 79.

In the meantime, nearly 600,000 people continue to lead their lives in its shadow.

The true nature of the task of moving so many people so quickly in a place like Naples recently became clear, when it emerged that four years of evacuation drills had resulted in only a 30% success.

As homes are gradually vacated, they will be given over to tourism, or turned into craft workshops and premises for small businesses being enticed into the area.

Yesterday the family of Mr. Vignola, a 40-year-old dental technician, was the first of 1,000 to benefit from £20,000 to help pay for a new home.

Thanks to the scheme the Vignolas are going upmarket, moving from small rented accommodation into a more comfortable house of their own in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, 30 minutes away.

Mr. Vignola said: "The main thing is we will be sleeping safely out of the volcano's reach. Every day there are tremors and a few years ago they became stronger. A specialist told me they could be warnings that people were failing to heed."

Mr. Di Lello is undeterred. As well as the 1,000 families "the annual maximum" who have been given the grant, he said another 2,800 had come forward for the same year and were now on a waiting list.

Maria Orsini Natale, an author who lives in the Vesuvius area, said some local people would never go.

"Here life is more intense than elsewhere," she said. "A life here is worth 10 of those lived somewhere else. And anyway, we love 'Him' and have a reverential fear of 'Him'."

"Per Favore!" This is a conspiracy that's stinks worse than the sulfur that once spewed out of "Him!"

Since when does the Italian government give grants to encourage people to move away from dangers of "Him" when there are still tens of thousands of Italians living in garages and tool sheds waiting for grants from earthquakes that devastated parts of Italy during the last 25 years?

Interesting facts about "Him":

1.) The last eruption was in 1944. And it was a good thing! We needed something to calm down those Nazis, Fascists and wacky Neapolitanos!

2.) Since 1944, the population in the immediate surroundings of "Him" has increased dramatically. The higher and closer you get to "Him" the more and more luxurious the homes get, accompanied by tens and tens of hotels and bed & breakfasts. The real risk from Vesuvius is not an eruption or falling into the crater but the volcanic prices you'll pay for a 3 star hotel room with a panoramic view of "Him".

Here's a bit of advice for the residents that live in the "Red Zone": Never mind "Him" and start worrying about "them!"


Italians Urged to Cell Phone Out

Rome - July 14, 2004 - The Diary doesn't like to dwell on ethnic stereotypes. But let's face it, Italians have a reputation for being vociferous. So do cell phone users worldwide.

So getting Italian cell phone users to keep quiet for two whole hours may be a stretch.

Nevertheless, news reports that four consumer groups in Italy have optimistically called on millions of cell phone users to turn off their instruments for two hours tomorrow to protest against the high prices imposed by operators.

The groups have joined forces to urge users to not make any calls or even send text messages between midday and 2pm tomorrow.

Millions of cell phones are in daily use across Italy, and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi even got into hot water after his party sent out a political text message on the eve of the European elections last month.

The communications authority estimates that at the end of last year 57 million cell phones were in use in Italy.

"PerchŤ No?" It's a fantastic idea!

This weird love affair with cell phones came about, in part, because Italians hate to feel taken advantage of. In Italy, there is something called a 'fregatura.' It basically means 'don't screw me.' They have an obsessed fear of being screwed.

The phone companies in Italy have a history of charging expensive and unpredictable rates with strange and confusing rules that antagonize and often befuddle the consumer. Wired phones have a complicated rate structure that is based on a series of audible clicks called "scatti". (If an Italian could figure out the "Stonehenge" like rate structure, he could win $64,000!)

Many people faced 150-200 Euro bills ($180-250) and had no way to pay. These stories were in the news all the time and the rate of interest for unpaid bills was so high that people had to actually take out loans or cancel the service!

And then came the blessed and cursed cell phone!


Elegant handcrafted sterling silver tableware directly from our little factory in Italy. At "Caterina Collezione", you'll find over 300 examples of artistically designed tableware such as tea sets, platters, flatware, centerpieces and more. Fast & very low cost FedEx shipping. Take a look at our grand catalog and you'll find that perfect & unexpected gift!

Visit the "Caterina Collezione" at!


Few Answer Call for Italian Cell Phone Strike

Mobiles keep ringing despite call for 2-hour boycott.

Rome - July 16, 2004 - Italians are used to strikes. In the last few months they had to survive, at least for a few hours, without buses, trains, planes, hospital workers, university teachers, magistrates and even security guards, who crossed their arms last December because of concerns about, believe it or not, personal security.

But the strike call for Thursday might have gone too far when consumer groups urged Italians to give up something they clearly can't live without, their mobile phones.

For the first time, a federation of consumer rights' associations asked Italians to switch off their cell phones for two hours.

The purpose of the boycott was to give a wake-up call to telephone companies by highlighting anger over increased call charges, rising costs of text messaging, the influx of spam in phone inboxes and confusion over how fees are applied for international calls.

According to a recent survey, Italy is the biggest consumer of mobile phones in Europe, with 57 million wireless numbers now active. Statistically speaking, that means there is a mobile phone for every Italian.

If every cell phone user stopped making calls for two hours, the organizers calculated that the loss in profit would be approximately $620 million. In other words, the more silent Italians could be, the louder their message.

Italians not listening

Italians, though, didn't seem to be listening. Just after midday, the time the boycott started, the polyphonic tunes were still ringing loudly in St. Peterís Square in Rome.

A well-dressed couple of friends, apparently seeking relief from the unbearable summer sun, stood in the shade with their cell phones ready at hand.

When asked about the boycott, Angelo Boccardello, a 53-year-old diplomat from Rome, said he was unaware of it but that it sounded like a good idea.

Would he switch off his cell phone? "Sure I will, I never answer the phone between 12 and 2 p.m. anyway," said Boccardello, who explained it was when he has a meal.

Seconds later, his phone rang, and he answered it promptly, greeting his caller in a typically loud Italian manner.

When quizzed about breaking his vow of cell phone silence, he replied, "I didn't realize it was 12 o'clock already."

His friend Gabriele Tecchiato, a 27-year-old librarian from Latina, a town on the outskirts of Rome, was more realistic.

"I don't see the point [of the strike], two hours wouldn't make any difference. And anyway, the situation is not that bad," he said. "We are lucky if we compare ourselves to countries like Russia, where they can't even receive calls when they run out of credit."

Stefano Zerbi, spokesman for Codacons, part of the consumer rights federation, told reporters that a fifth of respondents surveyed by the organization had switched off their phones during the period.

"With the right exposure, it could have been twice that number," Zerbi said.

The biggest obstacle to the initiativeís success, Zerbi explained, was the fact that not many people were aware of it.

He blamed this media's silence. "Very few newspapers reported it,2 said Zerbi. "Itís hardly surprising: most of them make a living out of phone companyís advertisements."

If the cell phone companies will not sit down at the table to discuss the consumers associationís requests, Zerbi said, Italians will next be asked to switch off their phones for a whole 24 hours. Based on the lackluster response to the two-hour boycott Thursday, it's unclear if Italians are ready to answer such a call.

"Porca Miseria!" What a shame. That 2-hour boycott could have also saved hundreds of relationships and marriages.

FACT: Cell phones are involved in nearly 9 of every 10 discovered affairs in Italy today.

"Five Golden Rules" offered by Italian detective agency as a guide for cheating spouses to avoid getting caught from cell phone use:

1.) After a call is made or received, immediately delete every trace of the number from your cell phone, then phone a relative or friend whose number is recognizable to both spouses.

2.) Delete all text messages, even the most beautiful; ignore any desire to conserve them for reading again later.

In case you get a call when your partner is with you:

3.) Always have in mind some names related to real situations, such as work, so you can fake a conversation to divert any suspicions.

4.) Act as if the person on the line has called a wrong number.

5.) Unobtrusively turn off the phone, then claim you can't hear anything because there's a problem with the line.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
Subscribe today to the best Italian news ezine in the history of the Roman Empire, pizza, and electricity.
Fill in the form to subscribe to the newsletter:
Your E-mail address:
Subscribe Unsubscribe
   Send this to a friend!
"Only In Italy" Archives
"Only In Italy" Archives
February 2015
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
January 2015
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
December 2014
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
November 2014
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
October 2014
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
September 2014
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
July 2010
January 2010
December 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
May 2009
April 2009
December 2008
August 2008
May 2008
February 2008
December 2007
September 2007
July 2007
May 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
April 2005
March 2005
January 2005
December 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
May not be copied, stored or redistributed without prior, written permission. "Only In Italy" is a registered trademark of FromItaly di Ciccarello.