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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October 2007
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"The Pigeons Are Our Friends"



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Give it a try for your upcoming holiday feasts. You'll smell and taste the difference.

"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to the only newsletter that could grow on you like a humorous fungus, "Only In Italy!"

It's probably my own ethnocentricity: I find two Muslims battling each other to be terrifying, but nuns going at it is freakin' hilarious!

Also funny is the pomposity of the Carabinieri, Guardia di finanza, and all the other paramilitary types. At the Infiorata festival in Noto this year, my girlfriend and I visited a large and colorful outdoor display of Carabiniere uniforms. But a huge bull cop kept stepping in front of us to block our view. Was he worried we'd get some ideas for Halloween? Keep cranking out those newsletters! Amo sopratutto i commenti e le parolacce! Carl R.

Thanks for the message, Carlo.

While the Carabinieri have been widely considered one of the most trusted and competent institutions by Italians, they are also the butt of many funny jokes implying that they were (and still are) stereotypically incompetent and unable to think beyond blind obedience.

Quite frankly, Carlo, their uniforms would not make great costumes because the traditional idea of a Halloween costume is to frighten. The only fear Carabiniere sow is when you're not sure how much of your monthly paycheck will go towards paying for one of their tickets for a burned tail light.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Friar Definitely Convicted For Cursing

Giordano the Angry FriarRome - September 26, 2007 - Italy's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a penalty against a Dominican friar who told police not to "break my balls".

The friar, identified as Giordano G., was convicted last year of insulting officers after they entered his drug rehab community for a night-time check.

Friar Giordano appealed against the March 2006 sentence, pleading with the appeals judges that his words "had no offensive content because the phrase in question has become such a common expletive as to render it innocuous". The judges took a different view, upholding the cleric's earlier conviction for abusing public servants.

Wednesday's sentence clashed with a recent widely publicized ruling from the precedent-setting organ, which pronounced this summer that the word "Vaffanculo", Italy's equivalent of the F-word, was no longer to be considered an insult because it was now so commonly used.

"Uffaa...per favore, non mi rompete le palle." As if his life is not difficult enough.

People do not understand the amount of patience Fratello Giordano actually has and displays.

First, his order was once referred to as "Hounds of the Lord" because of their reputation as the most obedient servants of the faith. The friars don't mind the reference but if you inquire about the order's involvement with the "Holy Inquisition", they'll just smile and say, "My good child, we kindly ask that you don't break them..."

To make matters more ball-busting, many do not know Dominican friars are called also "mendicants" because they were expected to work or, as later developed, beg for a living and were not bound to a particular monastery. Hence, the occasional curse.

Regardless of the pleading, "the judges took a different view, upholding the cleric's earlier conviction for abusing public servants" (or breaking their balls).


Venice: "Will You Stop Feeding the Pigeons?!"

Venice - September 18, 2007 - Venice has decided to ignore its reputation for wedding romance by enforcing a ban on showering newly-weds with rice, in an effort to keep down the city's pigeon population.

Each year more than 1,000 civil marriages are registered at the historic Palazzo Cavalli. But, said the city's police chief Marco Agostini, "throwing rice at the bride and groom brings hordes of pigeons, who then wait around until the next ceremony. The situation has become unbearable."

There are calculated to be 40,000 pigeons in the historic center. Besides the cost of cleaning up droppings, it has been discovered that pigeons are causing dangerous cracks in buildings. Offering them food spiked with contraceptives has produced scant results in cutting their numbers. A city spokeswoman said: "The rice ban was already on the books, but there will be no more turning a blind eye for weddings since it was calculated that every new-born Venetian is lumbered with an annual tax of 275 Euros ($387) to clean up after pigeons."

The mayor, Massimo Cacciari, is also trying to ban the sale of grain to feed pigeons in St Mark's Square, despite opposition from animal rights groups and the sellers themselves, who have refused to move. "The square is not a hen-house and you can't have pigeon's droppings all over the place," Mr Agostini said. "The square is washed and cleaned up weekly, but it's not enough."

Authorities also say that the pigeons are chipping away at the city's marble statues and buildings by pecking at small gaps in the facades to reach for scraps of food that have been blown inside, thus threatening the city's ancient fabric.

"Via via via, piccoli bastardi!"

The Venice city council has to get a grip on Italian reality. How are you to explain to pigeons that the Venice "piazzas" are no-fly zones and that they have no landing rights?

Thanks to global warming, Venice is being swallowed up by the lagoon forcing tourists to walk around on wooden planks at high tide. And they're worried about rats with wings? Plus, it's not really comforting to be served an overpriced cappuccino in a flooded St. Mark's Square by a smart-mouthed waiter wearing army green galoshes.

Spiking pigeon food with contraceptives: How could this have worked? These are Italian pigeons that swagger around churches all day well aware of the fact that taking contraceptives would go against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Getting married in Venice is a dream come true for many happy couples. Of course, throwing rice at the bride and groom brings in hordes of pigeons but that's what creates the wonderful Venetian atmosphere and unforgettable photo opportunities. Believe us, couples that can afford to marry in Venice would rather have cute flying vermin attend their weddings than the ungrateful and annoying vermin they have for family and relatives back home.

Our solution for this problem is to use Italian "Carabiniere" as scarecrows.

You see, the key to using one of these successfully is to make the so-called police officer appear as lifelike as possible because most of them appear dead from the neck down. Move it from one location to another every few days. A scarecrow that moves either randomly or responsively is usually more effective than one who stands at a bar sipping espresso all day making sure his uniform is impeccable.


Chili Pepper May Cause Cancer

Peperoncino Cornetto

Rome - September 12, 2007 - Italy's popular chili pepper peperoncino raises the risk of getting prostate cancer, Italian doctors said Wednesday.

Speaking on European Prostate Awareness Day, the Italian Society of Urology (SUI) warned men not to eat too much peperoncino in the belief that it will spice up their love life.

"Peperoncino is often used as the poor man's "blue pill" but you shouldn't have too much of it if you want to avoid prostate trouble," said SUI President Vincenzo Mirone. "Reckless use, in fact, inflames the gland. It causes prostatitis, which scientific studies have shown is linked to tumors".

Mirone, however, may have blunted the SUI's anti-chili drive by stating that peperoncino "stimulates desire in the male".

Peperoncino, which is believed to have been brought back to Italy by Christopher Columbus, has been celebrated as a boost for potency since ancient times. The belief still plays a large but mainly jocular part in Italian festivals dedicated to the spice.

Peperoncino is liberally used in many Italian dishes, especially in the south, where it adds pep to the region's essentially simple cuisine. One of the Mezzogiorno's most colorful sights is that of strings of red chili peppers hanging out to dry in summer, from windows and balconies, on washing lines, spread out on the hoods of cars, or nailed to trees in the countryside. The longer peppers are preserved in oil and vinegar and often munched straight out of the jar but the smaller ones are much hotter and reserved for cooking.

The hottest of all are the tiny diavoletti, which are indeed "little devils," to be eaten at your peril.

One of Rome's simplest and most popular treats is spaghetti laced with a hot sauce of olive oil, garlic and peperoncino. The biggest chili-head get together is at Diamante, Calabria, in early autumn. Calabria is particularly attached to the pepper and generations of poor Calabrian emigrants have taken it with them worldwide.

Calabria even has a Peperoncino Academy, with local chapters around the world.

"Oh no, cazzo, siamo nei guai!" You would think that the unforgiving punch peperoncino unleashes would eliminate any kind of cancer on the face of the earth.

The next study Italian doctors will have to perform is how to convince thick-headed Calabrese that it's bad for their health. These are people who have faces that look like they belong in racist cartoons and are convinced a little red pepper is the answer to all the mysteries of life.

These are people who will argue there is no food in the world that cannot have hot red pepper as an ingredient. They'll shove it in pasta, cheese, liquor, bread, pastry and ice cream. After all, they suck them down as if they're "Tic Tacs"!

And it doesn't matter where Calabrese emigrate to. If you put Calabrese in the North Pole, they will find a way to grow peperoncino. They'll give it to the polar bears, convinced it will help slow down their extinction. How so? They'll argue with the bears until they have no choice but to eat it just to shut them up.

"Calabria even has a Peperoncino Academy..." Minghia, what a shock. We're sure they have a soccer team with a mascot dressed up like a giant red pepper; Capitano Peperoncino.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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