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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"Thirsty and Disruptive Italians"


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"Buon Giorno a tutti!" Welcome to the only newsletter that will, one day, discover what song Nero played on the fiddle while Rome burned, "Only In Italy!"

I just wanted to say that I really have enjoyed your newsletters, some are hilarious, but unbelievably true :)

I love this site and enjoy it very much. I am full blooded Sicilian, never have been to Italy. I would really love to travel there someday, and see where my parents were born in Palermo. At my age, LOL, I just can't seem to get there, so I guess this is the closest that I will get to Italy, so keep sending this interesting e-mail, I love it! Ciao! Angelina

Thanks for the letter, Angelina. All of us at the news office sincerely appreciate it!

You should come visit Palermo. It's another world! You can enjoy a cow spleen sandwich, cornmeal fritters and chocolate gelato while hunting down your long lost relatives. After a few days, you'll understand why your parents got on the first row boat available for good ol' America.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Locusts Invade Matera, "Passion of Christ" Town

Rome - August 24, 2004 - It seemed like an invasion of Biblical proportions in the Italian town of Matera, the outdoor setting for Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of The Christ".

Millions of locusts swarmed into the ancient stone city, scaring tourists off outdoor patios, and evoking some playful comparisons to Old Testament plagues.

The town Gibson used to depict Christ's final hours was still shuddering about the bugs on Tuesday, even though the worst seemed to be over.

"I'd never seen anything like it," said Rosalia Guira Longo, who runs the Albergo Italia, where Gibson stayed while shooting the controversial film.

"At night, the ground was carpeted by locusts...they were huge," she told reporters.

Matera, in the southern Basilicata region, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preserved ancient cave and stone dwellings.

"Oh Dio!" A "thumbs down" review from God.

Or could this be His thoughts on the:

1.) Matera residents who are selling actual rocks from the town for $3-4 apiece.
2.) Matera hotel charging the equivalence of your soul for Mel Gibson's room (because you absolutely have to bathe where Mel bathed).
3.) Film extras from the town who insist Mel's film would have flopped if he had ignored their remarkable directing advice.


Italian Gov't Launches 10-Year Water-System Overhaul

Rome - August 6, 2004 - The Italian government on Friday launched a 10-year program aimed at overhauling the nation's water distribution and supply system.

Italian Environment Ministry said that the state will spend over 30 billion euros on upgrading the system to make it more modern, efficient and environmentally friendly.

"It's the first time that a single plan brings together all the works and operations in the water sector. We have worked so that the infrastructure projects focus on sustainability." said Italian Environment Minister Altero Matteoli.

Compared to other countries, Italy has an abundant supply of fresh water.

The Environment Ministry estimates that, potentially, three million liters of water are available for each Italian citizen per annum.

But because of infrastructure problems and the fact that water flows are not always regular, the country makes use of less than a third of that potential pool.

In a report to Italian Parliament on the country's water resources last year, Matteoli acknowledged that many Italian reservoirs, aqueducts and water mains were in a state of disrepair.

He said the result was that 40 percent of all water supplies were lost through leakages.

Indeed, water shortages are common in the drier south of the country during the summer.

Authorities in Naples and other southern cities often have to ration supplies to conserve water stocks, which sometimes lead to angry protests.

However, Matteoli also urged Italians to be more careful with water on Thursday, arguing that a "save water" mentality needed to be instilled in the population.

"Un bicchiere d'acqua, per favore!" We hope the water-system overhaul includes an overhaul of their craniums!

Here are some quite interesting facts about the water situation in Italy:

Italy, home to 236 rivers and 53 lakes, the biggest per capita consumer of water in Europe, third in the world, after the United States and Canada.

But one-third of Italians do not have access to drinkable water, especially in the southern regions.

Sicily: The island receives 7,000 cubic meters of rain annually, nearly triple what is needed to meet demand. But water trickles away, disappearing into the cracks created by poor management, corruption and the Mafia.

-Even back in 1874, the so-called 'guardiani' and 'fontaneri' associated with the Mafia charged consumers for water, a vital public resource.
-In 1968, most of the 13 water wells registered on the island were managed by Mafia families like the Buffa, Motisi, Marceno and Teresi.
-In Palermo, water service is available every three days,
-Caltanissetta; once every 2-3 weeks (the population has even been reduced to rain dancing),
-Agrigento; 3 hours every 15 days (the population collects rainwater in basins set under the eaves of their homes)

In the past 20 years, more than 1.4 billion dollars have ended up in the hands of the Mafia members involved in the water business in Sicily. Much of that money has been in the form of bribes, funding for dams that were never built or money spent on the continuous repairs of the water distribution system.

The slogan of the Refounded Communist Party in the last regional elections was "Water in every house and in the countryside, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No to the Mafia, waste and privatizations."

"Porca puttana!" How much of a comfort could it be to hear communists promise you a basic necessity?


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Ryanair Bans Four Italian Passengers For Life!

Rome - August 10, 2004 - "Irish budget carrier Ryanair announced today (09/08/2004) it has banned four Italian passengers for life from flying with Ryanair for endangering passenger and crew safety by smoking and disruptive behavior during flight FR977 from Genoa to London Stansted on 06/08/2004.

The passengers were immediately banned from Ryanair flights, handed over to the British Police on arrival at Stansted and subsequently banned for life from traveling on any flight operated by the Irish carrier.

Ryanair’s Head of Communications, Paul Fitzsimmons said:

"Passenger and crew safety is our No.1 priority. Smoking and disruptive behavior during a flight compromises the safety of everyone on board an aircraft and is strictly prohibited.

There remains a tiny minority of passengers who stupidly and recklessly persist in endangering the safety of others by their behavior. Ryanair will immediately ban any passenger who behaves in this way and we will hand over the offenders to the Police for prosecution."

"Non ho fatto niente!" Why is it a shock that Italians act this way? We have recklessly persisted in endangering the safety of ALL since the days of the Roman Empire. Does anyone remember Emperor Caligula?

Danger: The Italian Court of Cassation is defining what is permissible touching at work through a number of lawsuits being brought by female employees against their managers with wandering hands.

Result: The court ruled that managers are allowed to touch the bottoms of their female subordinates but only if "the touch is brief and non-repetitive". A defendant charged with sexual harassment for giving a "pacca" (slap) on a woman colleague’s rear, claimed his gesture was intended "to remove some hair from the plaintiffs back".

"What a nice guy!"

Danger: In February 1999 the same Court of Cassation ruled that to rape a women clad in jeans was not a crime as jeans were worn so tight that the accused needed the assistance of the women to remove her jeans. Signorina Alessandra Mussolini (granddaughter of Benito Mussolini) was on the front line of protests leading debates against the ruling and general attitudes of macho male rule makers. Engaged in a heated debate on the latest ruling of bum-slapping, Ms Mussolini accused the Minister for Women’s Rights, Ms. Katia Belillo, of the government’s lack of action in protecting women’s rights.

Result: The debate degenerated into a cat fight when Ms Bellilo said: "You shut up because your name is Mussolini;" and Ms. Mussolini replied with a swift kick to Bellilo’s shin. 56 per cent of Italians watched the scene on their famous talk show "Porta a Porta". This moved the public attention away from the real women issue. More focused on the problem were instead the women in Brussels, especially the women Ministers in the Netherlands, who have declared they would give a "brief and non-repetitive touch" to male Italian ministers at each official meeting until serious measure are taken in Italy to change the court decision.

Believe us, the safest way to deal with Italians is to ban them from leaving their homes!


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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