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 2013
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"Italians Are Evading Taxes...I Think"


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"So intelligently written, accurate and entertaining. Do you think maybe Pope Francis is Garibaldi reincarnated?

I am 91 years of age, a full blooded Italian American. My maiden name is De Nicola, (like the first president of Italy.) Born in the USA my parents were immigrants from Roseto Valforte. I seem to have the Roseto Effect.

I only visited in Italy in 2000 on my 3rd honeymoon, such a beautiful country, indeed." Grace L.

"Molte grazie", Grace. Much appreciated. Firstly, we didn't know the first president of Italy was a DeNicola. Never knew he existed. If he had a memorable name like Giorgio DeNicola Washington II and did something noble for our country, then maybe we would take the three minutes out to look him up on Wikipedia. Just three more.

What is the Roseto Effect? Sounds like something you get one you down that one grappa and cream puff too many at the table...and get that look from relatives.

Third honeymoon? According to our fingers and toes, you remarried at 78. "Auguri!" You must be some little firecracker. Good for you!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Silvio Could Be Rediscovering His Soul...Scrubbing Bathrooms

Rome - October 6, 2013 - Silvio Berlusconi, one of Europe's richest men, may soon be scrubbing bathrooms, working with drug addicts or helping the homeless as the former prime minister has opted to serve his tax fraud sentence performing community service.

Lawyer Franco Coppi said on Saturday Berlusconi would choose community service, rather than serve house arrest after Italy's High Court upheld the billionaire tycoon's one-year sentence in August.

The political veteran has dominated Italian politics since he was first elected prime minister in 1994.

The three-time prime minister has been besieged by requests from social welfare services including City Angels and Exodus, which support the homeless and drug addicts.

He has also received invitations from animal rights groups, hospitals, a genetic rights' foundation and a home for the elderly which are all clamoring for the 77-year-old's time.

"I would like him to do humble and silent manual labour, beginning with cleaning the bathroom. Like he did when he was 15 and didn't have the power to which he is accustomed now," said Antonio Mazzi, the 84-year-old priest who founded Exodus which works to rehabilitate drug addicts at 40 centres across the country.

Father Mazzi also stressed the need for personal reflection and rejected suggestions he should work with the elderly or prostitutes saying he needed to "rediscover his soul".

"Berlusconi is an idol who attracts the crowds and he would be capable of becoming a hero if he was put in the middle of prostitutes."

Earlier this year he received a seven-year sentence after being found guilty of paying for sex with an under age prostitute known as Ruby the Heart Stealer and lying to cover it up. He is appealing that sentence and a one year sentence he received for leaking judicial evidence.'s coming down to perhaps just some community service for the big wiseass packed in a little body. "Minchia," thank you very much.

By the way, Father Mazzi, please understand that in order for someone to "rediscover their soul", that someone has to actually use the toilet brush and be placed under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap. Regardless, don't get your hopes up and expect him to be doing any kind of community service soon. His law team is buying more time by asking for an acknowledgement from Kissinger.

To "rediscover your soul" you should find yourself, let go and breathe. You are on the right path whether you know it or not. You have within you everything you need to succeed...just like Silvio:

"Someone like me with a wealth of 20 trillion lire ($100+ billion USD) has to waste time with you?! It means that when I'm gone, seeing that I'm such a nice person, I'll write you some postcards from the Bahamas." (Silvio, outburst with out-of-line political allies, July 17, 2005).

"Yesterday I went to my dentist and I found out he pays 63% of taxes...and then you don't want those who are subjected to such thievery to use their ingenuity (to evade)? It's self-defense!" (Silvio, La Repubblica, October 15, 2000)

"Italians identify with me. I'm one of them. I'm one who has been poor, who has built himself up, has interests in soccer, loves life, loves to have fun, knows how to smile, loves others...and especially loves beautiful women, like all Italians who respect themselves." (Silvio, youngsters of his PDL party, Ansa, September 9, 2009)

"I'll make it to 120 years, but I'll always be a mortal." (Silvio, PDL party convention, April 16, 2011)


Cheese Maker Gives His Buffalo Luxury Treatment

Capaccio - October 6, 2013 - A line forms for rubdowns as jazz piano plays out of the speakers at the exclusive Tenuta Vannulo dairy farm in southern Italy.

Some of the best buffalo mozzarella in the world starts with pamper treatment. Ducky, Sweety and Lady walk over to the sound system, attracted to the smooth Keith Jarrett tunes .

"The music helps them produce more milk because the animal feels more relaxed," said Valentina Michelucci, a stable hand, who said she wants to try out some disco hits too. "They're very curious when they hear it."

The half-ton black water buffaloes spend their days relaxing on rubber mattresses, munching on organic hay or looking forward to showers of a cooling mist from overhead pipes.

When they feel the urge, they walk into a special pen for automatic milking by a unique machine that knows the exact shape of each udder thanks to a code emitted by the electronic collars each buffalo is fitted with.

Or they can head to large round brushes that twist into action when the animals come into contact with them, providing them with a back and shoulder massage.

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk," said Antonio Palmieri, owner of the 200-hectare farm.

"They can't speak for themselves, so it's up to us to understand how they want to be cared for," he said, sitting in a garden next to his three stables, which house 500 buffaloes.

The farm sells around 300 kg of mozzarella per day at 13 Euros a kilo ($8 USD a pound).

There is a catch: If you want it, you have to drive to the farm, 50 km south of Salerno, to buy it, as Palmieri does not bother with distribution. Around 45,000 customers visited the on-site farm shop in August alone.

A workshop on the farm even produces buffalo-leather handbags and belts, and Palmieri said he plans to open a restaurant serving up buffalo steaks.

"The well-being of animals is an important issue," said Sardo, a cheese expert, although he admitted that the link between better treatment and tastier milk is scientifically "difficult to prove."

The delicious result is a tough sell for the diet-conscious. Fresh buffalo milk is about 8 percent fat...more than twice as much as cow's milk.

"Oh, che bello!" See what happens when you give "amore" to milk producing animals? $8 a lovely pound...

It works. We keep a lovely pet goat roaming behind the office that produces fresh milk for us on a daily basis. "Ah, Madonna!" Nothing like a cappuccino every morning with freshly milked milk to start off a lazy day of writing. By the way, milking a goat is great for relieving stress and taking the edge off. We highly recommend it. (Let's see CNN or BBC match this.)

"Animals have to be treated well to produce stress-free milk...". Italian families and relatives who are reading this (you know who you are) should pay particular attention. Similar pamper treatment in the home would help relieve the stress that's murdering us on a daily basis. Like water buffalo, we can't (or we're not allowed to) speak for ourselves, so it's up to you to understand how we want to be cared for. Jazz piano music and rotating brushes for back and shoulder massages would certainly be a start for all of us to get along a little better.

Your helpful buffalo mozzarella tips (per your request):

1. Buffalo mozzarella isn't packaged like other cheeses. It comes either in a plastic container or bag filled with something watery. That's whey, by the way. It's important because the mozzarella needs to be kept moist, so don't dump it down the sink. Just drop the cheese back in it, and put it in the fridge.

Whey, by the way, can be used for many other uses, such as a hair product (shampoo, rinse, or gel). Recommend it to a family member or relative for their next dream date or public engagement. It's sure to be a topic of discussion.

2. Buffalo mozzarella should be eaten immediately. As soon as it is exposed to air, the taste immediately starts to break down. Those annoying Italian food connoisseurs that always and some how wind up in YOUR kitchen claim they can tell the difference between mozzarella that was opened last night versus 15 minutes ago.

The solution is to enjoy the scrumptious mozzarella for yourself...and offer the connoisseur a cup of American coffee with Stella D'Oro cookies in a drafty kitchen (works quite well).

3. Top-quality buffalo mozzarella should never be used for pizzas. The delicate flavors and texture will be drowned out or ruined by the other ingredients.

Enjoy the mozzarella on its own with your family on the next holiday lunch (of course, if you've made peace with the family). You will laugh, you will cry, you'll feel 5 years older, you'll lose money and you'll increase your IQ by 20 points. All in one lunch!

PS: "Porca oca," amazing how Italian families, one way or another, can find their way into a completely non-related story. There's something to be said for it.


Scarlatti Recreated: Transcriptions and Hommages

An inspired & original project by Italian pianist Sandro Russo, Scarlatti Recreated presents 19 tracks which are transcriptions of Domenico Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas and works inspired by and in the style of Scarlatti. These compositions for piano range from the 19th century to the present day, including 4 world-premiere recordings.

Sandro Russo displays his own inventive and masterful playing style on this collection of works by Enrique Granados, Carl Tausig, Louis Brassin, Carl Czerny, Ignaz Friedman, Charles-Valentin Alkan, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Jean Francaix, Raymond Lewenthal, and Michael Habermann.

"Sandro Russo is a musician's musician, and a pianist's pianist. There is no technical challenge too great for him, but it is his musicianship that ultimately makes the greatest impression. His interpretations reveal a unique and profound artist at work." (Lowell Liebermann)


Italian Tax Chief: "I Think Italians Are Evading, But I Don't Really Know"

Rome - October 7, 2013 - The chief of the national inland revenue agency told radio listeners that he believes tax evasion for economic survival exists in Italy and added that if taxes were lowered the country would see less cheating.

When asked whether evasion for economic survival exists, Revenue Agency Director Attilio Befera responded, '"I believe so, but I don't really know, not being an evader (myself)'".

"There are various kinds of evasion. We try to tackle all of them with maximum intensity. In Italy, one must pay taxes, and if it weren't for (tax-collection agency) Equitalia, no one would pay,'' Befera said.

Befera also admitted that fewer taxes would lead to less evasion.

"Without a doubt. There would be less evasion (than now happens) due to lack of liquidity," he said. Nevertheless, Befera said tax evaders should not be treated leniently. "It is a fact that a tax cheat is a parasite on society," Befera declared.

Befera complained that, despite progress toward stamping out the problem, "evasion is still part of the Italian culture, and it must change. Evasion is not shrewdness. We have to teach this to new generations".

When it comes down to money we Italians love talking long as it's someone else's (preferably another Italian). But when it comes to giving out numbers to our own wealth, we are not going to be so liberal with the info.

Why the secrecy? Well, there are several reasons why we don't like to talk about money:

1) We have to always be on the lookout for who might be listening.
2) We fear destiny...which shouldn't be tempted.
3) We fear other Italians...who shouldn't be provoked.
4) And we fear Italy's tax authorities, especially when we declare laughably low incomes.

So, when it comes to money, the golden rule is very simple: speak quietly, deal in cash, and miscalculate on the side of caution.

Look, our hesitation on Italian tax matters is infamous. Whispering your income in a caffe' could attract more attention than double parking your mule outside. The sentiments that motivate the rest of the world to pay their taxes are obligation, habit and mistrust. Hmmm...that won't cut it here in Italy. No-no, we need much more convincing.

For example, take the United States: if an American declares a low income he could become shunned from society or looked down upon. When an Italian in Italy does so, 6 neighbors would come over to ask how he pulled it off, 4 relatives will get offended for not being consulted beforehand, 17 more would despise him in silence and one might tip off the authorities...but only if he is 100% sure it can be done in complete anonymity (after all, you don't want to risk your hard earned reputation of being known as "such a lovely person who minds his own business").

We evade taxes because we find a moral justification in doing so. Of course, the Italian state helps with its ludicrous and grotesque fiscal regulations and tax pressure. So, the Italian taxpayer has a whole arsenal of excuses: wasted public money, Mafia, state privileges for politicians' families, friends, lovers, whores, etc.

With all this evidence at hand, the Italian tax evader turns into Yul Brynner in the "King of Siam" and conducts his own defense, assisted by his accountant and the bank friend which supply him with regulatory, practical and psychological support.

Like a speeding sign, we Italians will decide when the general rule is applicable to our special case (and we consider 99.8% of our cases as being "special"). The same is for our taxes. We are our OWN tax authorities and almost always honorably decide not to collect.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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