"Buon Estate!" Welcome to another "fun under the sun" edition of "Only In Italy!"
Che Brutta! Just got back from the motherland, I was born in Lucca in 1970, then moved to Buenos Aries, Argentina...pretty much like being in Italy.
I go back and forth to Argentina and Italy once a year, alternating between the two countries...i.e, Argentina one year for Natale and then to Firenze the next year for Natale.
I hate to say it, but Italians are the rudest in the world. Imagine being called a "bastardo" for touching silver chains at a stall in Veneto! I went with my girlfriend who is African American. We were stared at for 10 days non-stop.
I am always amazed how badly I am treated by the Italian public when I am out and about on my own. When I am speaking Italian with my extended family, though, I am accepted. Just my opinion. Ciao! Carlo P.
Grazie for the letter, Carlo!
We apologize for the disrespect served to you on a silver plate. Realize you were simply perceived as the typical ugly Americans. Most of us at the news office look like we could make blind children cry but we never feel as ugly as we do when we visit northern Italy, in particular, Florence.
"Oh, Cazzo! Here come those ugly Sicilians again!"
Carlo, your problem is you have to act like a Florentine when you visit your beloved homeland. You don't buy anything from street stalls and you order typical Florentine and Tuscan food like "fegatelli" (liver skewers) and "roventini" (pork blood fritters). These were some of "Mona Lisa's" favorite dishes.
Order second helpings if you really want to fit in!
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Palermo - July 29, 2007 - Police are searching for a phoney priest who conducted funeral services before making off from each with hundreds of Euros left by mourners in the collection plate.
Father Marco, as he called himself, told genuine priests at a series of cemetery chapels in Sicily that he had been asked by the families of the deceased to carry out the service.
Dressed in the traditional collar and full Catholic robes, the "priest" conducted the funerals helped by two "altar servers" who were his accomplices in the scam.
At the end of each ceremony the "servers" passed among the congregation with a collection plate, before making off with the cash.
The police said the trio had carried out the swindle at several cemeteries across Sicily, picking out their victims by carefully scanning newspaper death notices.
Giacinto Vaccarella, a police spokesman in Palermo, said: "They have struck at least half a dozen times. For all the targeted funeral services, the families had requested donations and no flowers." In the incident at Rotoli cemetery, police said more than 750 Euros ($1000) had been stolen. Officials refused to identify the victims of the fraud, who are understood to be very upset.
To make matters worse for those involved, the fake services are invalid in the eyes of the Church.
A local priest said: "I can't understand people who exploit the bereaved like this.
"A bogus ceremony has no religious significance at all, and needs to be carried out again which just brings on more heartache for the families involved.""Cacchio!" Welcome to another episode of "Sicilian Charades!"
This is a result of Southern Italians who are extremely into worshipping Catholicism and their own big heads.
A local priest said: "I can't understand people who exploit the bereaved like this." We can't understand why the hillbillies in the outskirts of Sicily who recently discovered electricity didn't hear the dearly departed spinning in their caskets during the ceremonies.
According to the holy statistics released by the Italian bishops' conference (CEI), the number of priests in Italy has been cut in half during the past century, while the country's population has grown. There are now 31,474 priests in the country, down from 69,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.
These numbers do not take into account the phoney Fathers Marco, Guido, Vincenzo, Giuseppe, the juvenile altar delinquents, the Mother Theresas and Popes John Paul 3, 4, and 5 who roam the island.
Milan - July 27, 2007 - Sixty year old Paola Mazzini is no celebrity designer. But after more than a decade in jail, the drugs convict and a dozen fellow prisoners are looking to break into the world of glamour by launching their own clothing brand.
The inmates at Milan's San Vittore prison have learned tailoring skills from a local cooperative that aims to help women behind bars, and have already made costumes for theatre and television as well as flowing dresses and long-sleeved shirts for small shops.
Having transformed the stereotype of the jailbird sewing sacks, they are now going at it alone.
"I didn't know how to do this before," said Mazzini, who is due to leave jail next year. She carefully snipped across a drape of soft white cloth for a shirt. "Now I'm dedicating myself to tailoring."
The rows of clothes and cardboard cut-outs hanging from the walls at San Vittore could be part of any tailor's workshop. Only the occasional entrance of a prison guard sets the workplace apart.
The scheme aims partly to help women acquire skills for life outside prison, but their work has also already been used in costumes for Milan's La Scala opera house and small accessories for soccer team Inter Milan.
One of the prisoners' clients even has a boutique on Milan's exclusive Montenapoleone street, and they have mounted a prison fashion show where guards and an invited audience watched models strutting past in their designs.
"Next time, we will present clothes from our brand," said Alessandro Brevi, head of the Milan-based Cooperativa Alice, which runs the project and has as operated for some 15 years in the city's jails.
So far, the inmates' only independent venture has been a line of T-shirts under the 'Jail Cats' brand with a motif of cats or prison bars, sold in libraries or at the cooperative's headquarters.
The new line has the backing of Italian designer Anna Molinari of Blumarine and will be named later this year.
"First we need to have a name, eventually we will work with Anna Molinari to see what will our collection will be. We hope we will be able to market it by next spring, even before if possible," Brevi said.
"We are thinking of a small collection of clothes. We will work mainly on women's clothes."
With Italy's clothing and textile sector only just rebounding from a beating by global rivals, the launch of a new brand will be a challenge.
"The problem is distribution," Brevi said, adding that he would like the cooperative to have a shop although it is working on a Web site to sell its products.
For the inmates, some of whom also have chores in the prison kitchen, the launch is an exciting prospect.
"It's a joy that we can do it," said 23 year-old Fedua from Morocco. "The launch of the brand is important, it will show what we are capable of."
Fedua, who names Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana as her favorite designers, has only been working at the workshop for a month.
"Sewing machines used to scare me. I've learned how to make shirts, trousers, dresses. I prefer making shorts, as they're easy," she said. She hopes to make a wedding dress one day.
The San Vittore workshop is open until late every day.
"It makes the time go by, rather than just sit in your cell," inmate Gabriella said as sewing machines hummed and irons steamed around her.
The cooperative, which also has a workshop at Milan's Opera prison, takes former inmates to work at its headquarters making it easier for them to find a job once out of jail.
"This project is no doubt valuable," Molinari said by email, adding that it goes beyond the aesthetic side of fashion, to its social potential.
One former worker has opened her own tailoring and alterations shop. And of the dozens who have worked for the cooperative, Brevi said only one had been sent back to jail.
"It is important to work in prison, to learn a skill, but the real problem comes when an inmate finishes her sentence and needs to find a job," he said.
Ecuadorian Mariuxi, who left San Vittore in May after a three-year drugs sentence, is one of about 30 people working now for the cooperative.
"It's difficult to find a job after you come out of prison. People are not confident," she said. "I like that ... Giorgio Armani. I like his dresses. Maybe one day I would like to work for him.""Porca di quella troja!" Don't you miss the days when criminals were not enjoying themselves in prison? Whatever happened to getting hassled by the warden and having your freedoms inhibited?
However, credit will be given for their honest work, will to learn and creative (but modest) ideas. Have you taken good look at some of the latest designs from Versace, Dolce e Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli? Some of them look like they are borderline criminal. And a little prison time wouldn't hurt for the insane prices they charge. It's attempted robbery, "cazzo!"
Look, it's no surprise the Italian justice system is overwhelmed and befuddled with problems. They have the most time consuming legal processes on the planet and punishment is as uncertain as a Napolitano lottery.
How you can kill your incoherent and complaining wife (or clueless and lazy husband) in Italy without spending a single minute in prison.
Step by step explanation:
1.) Kill him or her (be creative but not too creative).
2.) Go to the police station, surrender and confess (don't forget the bereaved look on your face).
3.) Tell the police that she/he voluntarily offended you causing your overreaction (meddling in-laws is usually a classic and credible excuse).
4.) After these few steps you have already avoided preventive detention because:
5.) While waiting for the trial to start, you are under house arrest (1 year) but you can happily skip to work (if you still have a job, of course. But if you have a typical Italian public job, not even Moses can get you fired!)
6.) When the trial begins you automatically risk the maximum punishment, 30 years of prison time (don't be scared, you're in Italy).
7.) If your lawyer is a typical Italian rat-bastard, extenuating circumstances can outweigh the aggravating circumstances. In plain English, the punishment decreases to 21 years.
8.) Since you were offended and provoked by your wife/husband (oh, those in-laws), the punishment can be lowered by a 1/3. The punishment is now 14 years (21 - 7 = 14 years).
9.) Common extenuating circumstances are almost always awarded to the defendant, so, 14 years - 5 = 9 years.
10.) If you pay reparations to the loving relatives of your wife/husband, your punishment is decreased by another 3 years. You're now at a possible 6 years.
11.) If you politely ask for the "rito abbreviato" (shortened rite) the punishment is politely knocked down to 4 years.
12.) Since you were under house arrest for 1 year you can subtract that so-called prison time. Now, you're down to 3 years!
13.) Last, but not least, prison sentences of 3 years or less can be converted into social work (so, go and pretend you're cleaning a park).
Brussels, July 25, 2007 - The Mona Lisa suffered from a serious metabolic disease that made her blood fatty, according to a Belgian doctor.
Jan Dequeker, a rheumatology lecturer at the University of Lovinio, reckons that the enigmatic woman who has fascinated the world for centuries suffered from a disease called hyperlipemia. Hyperlipemia is a lifestyle disease caused by over-eating and lack of exercise. Blood levels of lipids (fats) such as cholesterol are too high, leading to serious health risks.
Dequeker, an art buff, says he took a close look at the Mona Lisa and found evidence for the disease in areas of swollen skin.
"There is a swelling on her left hand which shows a build-up of subcutaneous lipids, as does the puffiness around her left eye," Dequeker told reporters in a telephone interview. Dequeker said his theory was supported by the usual age of onset of the disease in women, 30-35 "the age which international experts believe Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa".
The new theory is not the first advanced by medical experts/art lovers.
The Mona Lisa's famous smile has led to endless speculation.
One group of medical researchers has maintained that the sitter's mouth is so firmly shut because she was undergoing mercury treatment for syphilis which turned her teeth black.
An American dentist has claimed that the tight-lipped expression was typical of people who have lost their front teeth, while a Danish doctor was convinced she suffered from congenital palsy which affected the left side of her face and this is why her hands are overly large.
A French surgeon has also put forth his view that she was semi-paralysed, perhaps as the result of a stroke, and that this explained why one hand looks relaxed and the other tense.
"Sta pippa!" What a healthy little firecracker!
You could tell Leonardo was an artistical genius.
Hyperlipemia is a lifestyle disease caused by over-eating and lack of exercise. You would think Mona would have taken better care of herself. She felt the need to inhale all the typical Florentine and Tuscan dishes such as:
"Valigette" (beef rolls)
"Disgraziata porca!" She could have been more attractive and healthier if she had only eaten seven meals a day. And a little olive oil, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables couldn't have hurt.
Hmmmm...It could be that Mona kept her mouth firmly shut because she underwent mercury treatment for syphilis. Or, because she had more food caught in her teeth than Leonardo eats the whole day.