"Buona Giornata" Welcome to the only newsletter that would have convinced Mark Antony that Cleopatra was a real pig, "Only In Italy!"
Costantino was my Grandfather's name & I read the newsletter because coming to Italy and visiting Sicily (my father's home) has always been my #1 desire. Every day my Papa went and sat in the sun and said exactly what the Doctor said!!! Most of all I enjoy reading about Italy and think you are fortunate for all the little idiosyncrasies of the Italians and of your country. Antonia
We'll keep the "idiosyncrasies alla parmigiana" coming, Antonia.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Rome - September 29, 2008 - The rehabilitation of the wartime dictator is gathering momentum as neo-Fascists flex their muscles on the city streets.
His monuments still dominate Rome's skyline; his name is chanted at football matches and a notorious episode of his rule was recently re-enacted, complete with men dressed as SS stormtroopers. The rehabilitation of Benito Mussolini, Italy's wartime dictator, may not yet be complete but it is not for want of trying.
Yesterday urban planners and architectural historians from across Italy gathered in Rome to honor the "glories" of Fascist architecture. The conference, at Latina, a model "new town" created in reclaimed marshland south of Rome by Mussolini in 1932, is the brainchild of Giorgio Frasinetti, the head of urban planning at Predappio, the town in Emilia-Romagna where Il Duce was born and is buried.
Mr Frasinetti admitted that Fascism had its "ugly" aspects but he insisted that the buildings erected throughout the country under Mussolini should not be seen as an embarrassment, but deserved "re-evaluation". The move follows the restoration of an obelisk bearing the word "Dux" (Duce) outside the Olympic Stadium in Rome and of Mussolini's Rome residence, the Villa Torlonia. This month a "wartime enactment association" wearing Nazi uniforms re-created the rescue of Mussolini by SS commandos at Campo Imperatore in the Abruzzo mountains, where he was held after being deposed in September 1943. Massimo Castelli, head of the association, insisted that the event arose solely from a "passion for military history".
There is, however, growing disquiet on the Left and among Jewish and Roman Catholic groups. They fear that neo-Fascists are taking advantage of a perceived shift to the right in Italy since elections last April, which brought to power a coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi. It includes not only the anti-immigrant Northern League, but also Alleanza Nazionale, the reformed descendant of Mussolini's Blackshirts.
Mussolini's tomb at Predappio has become a shrine for neo-Fascists, who have grown increasingly assertive, plastering Rome with far-Right posters and massing on football terraces and at political rallies with their close-cropped hair and black shirts.
In April, Gianni Alemanno of Alleanza Nazionale was elected Mayor of Rome, the first rightwinger to hold the office since the Second World War. Recently, critics have accused Mr Berlusconi who last week announced plans to merge his Forza Italia with Alleanza Nazionale next year of encouraging racist attacks on immigrants by blaming gypsies and illegal immigrants for street crime.
All the more surprising, then, that the man who has cried "enough" is Gianfranco Fini, the head of Alleanza Nazionale, who once described Mussolini as "the greatest statesman of the 20th century". The Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament told a meeting of Azione Giovani, the Alleanza Nazionale youth wing, that the Italian Right had to be "unambiguously anti-Fascist".
What is at stake for Mr Fini is his calculated transformation of the postwar remnants of the Fascist Party into a mainstream, democratic, conservative party and a springboard for power.
He faces formidable resistance, however, in the form of Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of the Duce, who is heading a grassroots revolt. Ms Mussolini, a former model and actress who has forcefully defended her grandfather's reputation since entering politics in 1992, and who is the niece of Sophia Loren, appeared in Parliament recently wearing a striking T-shirt reading "Proud to be on the wrong side", a reference to those who fought for Fascism rather than Resistance during the war."Oh, non mi scazzare i coglioni!" It's amazing the amount of free time the world financial crisis has brought to this pizza republic.
"This month a "wartime enactment association" wearing Nazi uniforms re-created the rescue of Mussolini by SS commandos at Campo Imperatore in the Abruzzo mountains, where he was held after being deposed in September 1943." Are we insane? Has sanity left us? Is anybody reading this stupid newsletter? Why aren't Italians running out into the streets rioting over this?
"Cacchio", how could anyone have taken this man seriously? This is an imbecile who would ward off the evil eye by touching his testicles. What does this tell you? It tells us, for hygiene reasons never shake hands with a fascist.
Obviously, he was right in touching himself because it derived from a famous political slogan used by fascists and plastered on walls and buildings everywhere in the country.
"Mussolini ha sempre ragione" or "Mussolini is always right!"
Influenced by the concepts of the Roman Empire, with Benny viewing himself as a modern day Roman Emperor, he dreamt of making Italy a nation that was "great, respected and feared" throughout Europe, and indeed the world.
It was his dream to make the Mediterranean mare nostrum ("our sea" in Latin), and he established a large naval base on the Greek island of Leros to enforce a strategic hold on the eastern Mediterranean.
He succeeded in attacking and annexing the African country of Ethiopia, setting up a puppet regime in Albania and ruthlessly consolidated Italian power in Libya, which had been a colony (loosely) since 1912. An occupation and colonization of a country which costed the Italians 5 billion Euros as part of a 2008 "so sorry" pact signed between Gaddafi and another modern day Roman Emperor, Berlusconi.
Benny: "The truth is that men are tired of liberty." No, the truth is Italians are tired of everything; neo-fascists, neo-nazis, communists, soccer, the traffic, etc. Who needs the aggravation?
Why don't they pursue something more promising like professional ice skating?
Vigevano - October 1, 2008 - Twin sisters are being prosecuted after one posed as her lawyer sibling while the other was sitting as a judge.
Solicitor Gabriella Odisio found herself double booked as both a judge and an advocate on the same day so asked her identical twin to stand in for the court hearing.
Twin Patrizia, who has a law degree but is not qualified, and her sister kept the deception working for three years swapping between courts in Vigevano and Rho in northern Italy.
Meanwhile the pair clocked up a fortune in double fees.
No one noticed what the pair were up to and the scam was only uncovered when one of Gabriella's clients overheard her and her sister discussing their plans.
A police source said: "They were absolutely identical and knew everything about each other's lives and colleagues so they managed to fool everyone."
Now the pair - both 50 - are being prosecuted for making false statements about their qualifications and deceiving clients."What good is being an Italian judge if you can't abuse your power?"
Many Italians agree that the court system here needs a massive shake up and punch in the face. Trials here can take literally decades to weave their way through Italy's convoluted and slow court system, and quite often, after all the expense and time invested, cases are dropped thanks to time-wasting legislation.
What also appears to be spellbinding and frustrating with the legal system is that no one ever seems to go to prison!
"Porca di quella troia", no one!
The "no ones" in question are, more often than not, old and decrepit politicians, CEOs, lawyers, etc. who have come under investigation (Andreotti, Previti, Tanzi, Cuffaro).
Italians are not stupid all the time, and the fall of Enron, WorldCom and the recent subprime mortgage crash in the USA, which has led to the arrest and imprisonment of the rich and powerful, has not escaped their attention. Many Italians would gladly give a part of their private anatomy to see the same happen here.
As far as the lovely "wonder twins" are concerned, we don't believe Italians would have minded the trading places so much if some swift justice had been a result of their work. If they have an ugly brother who would put on a wig and make-up and condemn a few criminals, then all the better.
Milan - September 30, 2008 - Pasta, trousers, soap and a radio were among the top choices of Italians asked what they would take with them if they were stranded on a desert island.
The 1,000 Italians polled by national dairy association Assolatte seemed not to worry about best-before dates when asked what foods they would take with them to the island. Some 76% of Italians said "pasta and bread" while 39% chose classic Italian cheese such as Pecorino and parmesan. A further 38% opted for fruit, including exotic varieties such as pineapples and bananas as well as tomatoes and apples.
Trousers, T-shirts and bathing costumes were top of the clothing list for potential Robinson Crusoes, but around 15% of women opted for underwear.
Despite people being told they would spend five years alone on the island, make-up and conditioner still made it onto the list of personal items, headed up by soap, toothpaste and shampoo.
While 22% didn't feel the need to take any reading material to while away their five years of isolation, those who did want to take books opted for the Bible (7%), the Divine Comedy (4%), Alessandro Mazoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed, 3%) and the Harry Potter books (2%).
"Let's see, pasta, bread, cheese, trousers, make-up and the Divine Comedy... Oh cavolo, siamo fottuti!"
Who better to poll than a race of argumentative and lazy people who want satisfaction over a small cold?
What would you bring if you were stranded on a desert island for 5 years?
- Pasta (Plenty of salt water for cooking. Nothing beats a nice dish of salty spaghetti with no sauce.)
- Bread (After 2 days it can be used to break open coconuts.)
- Radio (To listen to the only station it can receive, "Radio Vaticano"; while the batteries last, of course.)
- Cheese (Nothing like an expired piece of salty cheese and all the coconut milk to wash it down with.)
- Exotic fruit (Pineapples and bananas for Italians to lazy to take a walk around the island and pick it themselves.)
- Make-up and conditioner (To look attractive for Tom Hanks, "Wilson", Gilligan and the Skipper.)