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 2008
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"It's OK To Call a Politician Senile"

(10/16/08)

 

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"Ti amo!" Welcome to another joyous and carefree issue of "Only In Italy!"

Your Italian is atrocious! It offends Italian-speaking Americans. Ask one to edit your newsletter. Gloria

A lot of love in that message, Gloria.

Well, thanks for blowing some sunshine up our "culo". (Is that the correct translation folks?)

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      


It's OK To Call A Politician "Senile"

Rome - October 14, 2008 - Politicians can call opponents senile in the heat of debate, Italy's highest court ruled Tuesday.

"The language of political polemic can take on more pungent and incisive tones than those commonly used in private life," the Cassation Court said.

The court acquitted the mayor of a small town near La Spezia who had been ordered by a lower court to pay damages to a counselor he called 'rimbambito' (senile) in 1999.

The epithet was used at the end of a heated council debate on adopting a common stance on the Kosovo war. After a lengthy session the mayor managed to muster a united front only for the counselor to come up with a last-minute motion of his own.

According to the Cassation Court, this was "provocative" and justified the mayor's outburst.

"Cacchio!" How silly! How stupid! It took nine years and an indefinite amount of taxpayer money to arrive at this cartoon ending? The only positive outcome out of this story is "no money was stolen".

Hmmm...You would think calling an Italian politician "senile" could be considered a kind compliment considering the fact they constantly "poop plenty" when they open their mouths.

At a ceremony to honor World War II resistance fighters last September, one couldn't help but cringe as Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa, a man who looks like he did the 100 yard dash in a 90 yard gym, declared, "I would betray my conscience if I did not recall other men in uniform."

Those "other men" Minister Nincompoop's foggy conscience was referring to were the fascist Italian troops allied with the Nazi occupiers.

La Russa's harebrained speech came just a day after another incredibly brilliant politician, Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno, refused to condemn Benito Mussolini's fascist regime: "I don't consider fascism to be an absolute evil. Many people signed up in good faith."

"The language of political polemic can take on more pungent and incisive tones than those commonly used in private life," the Cassation Court said. Absolutely! You can take on a more pungent, punching and entertaining tone by calling a politician:

"a senile figlio di puttana" or, "a thick-witted rompicoglione" or, "an asinine minchione".

 

Tomb Raiders Resume Shoveling

Rome - October 14, 2008 - Tomb raiders have made a surprise comeback on the Italian art trafficking scene, art police said Tuesday.

Presenting a report on thefts and recoveries in the first nine months of 2008 to Culture Minister Sandro Bondi, art police chief Gianni Nistri said that after years of decreased activity, tomb raiders had illegally dug up relics at 53 archaeological sites in Italy this year.

But Nistri said that the number of thefts was nevertheless down since 2007, with a provisional total of 13,403 culturally important items stolen and 784 thefts of artworks reported. The nine-month period showed an "extremely considerable" improvement in the recovery of stolen artifacts with over 48,000 items seized both in Italy and abroad, Nistri said.

The value of goods retrieved also increased compared to 2007, at around 80 million euros for artifacts of cultural relevance, 30 million euros for counterfeit works and another 16 million for other types of confiscation.

Congratulating the art police on their work, Bondi said they deserved their international reputation and served as "a model for other countries".

"Sta pippa", it's amazing the leaning Tower of Pisa hasn't been dismantled and smuggled out of the country yet.

Unfortunately, the illicit trade in stolen Italian antiquities is allowed to flourish because dealers, collectors and museum curators have persuaded governments around the globe to turn a blind eye.

Italy's tomb raiders, the "tombaroli", with their shabby clothes and broken fingernails, wait for dusk to ramble through the hills and valleys of northern Lazio and Sicily, scanning the terrain for a bulge, an indentation, a type of flower, anything that might give a clue to the ancients. The most important tools of their trade are:

- matches (to test for the presence of toxic gas in the tombs),
- a torch,
- a shovel and
- a "spiedo" (a thin iron rod which is inserted into the earth at an angle and twisted until it hits something solid).

They probe the earth, and where it hits something solid, they dig.

The "Nonno" (grandfather) of Lazio's tombaroli is a 66-year-old, mint-sucking, chain-smoking, Viterbo native called Antonio.

Nonno Antonio: "I am not a criminal," he said. "I find things and I sell them. You should not judge us - without us, these things would stay underground." Antonio has, he estimates, ransacked 2,200 tombs in his career - "mostly Etruscan, they're shallower - the Romans I'm leaving to future tombaroli".

The Italian keystone cops: "The only way to stop those guys is to hide a man behind every bush every night, and we can't afford to do that. To convict, we need to catch them red-handed, which is almost impossible. If the tombaroli see us coming, they drop everything and say they were out for a walk." His superiors felt that, in the absence of better resources, it was more productive to concentrate on burglaries and speeding tickets than on the elusive tombaroli.

WARNING: Tourists looking for black market bargains have been known to be conned by tombaroli who lead them to tombs where they place cheap vases two months earlier.

"What a magnificent amphora, Signore Antonio! - Grazie! Thank you! Merci! Danke!"

"Uh, what is the cultural significance of the symbols "P.R.C." on this amphora...you grandissimo figlio di una meretrice?"

 

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Italian Grandmothers Knit Gigantic Toy Rabbit

Italian Grandmothers Knit Gigantic Toy RabbitTurin - October 15, 2008 - The 200-foot-long toy rabbit lies on the side of the 5,000 foot high Colletto Fava mountain in northern Italy's Piedmont region.

The pink rabbit was knitted by Gelitin, the Viennese art collective, as an outdoor sculpture for people to climb on, sleep on, and generally play with. It is made of soft, waterproof, materials and is stuffed with straw.

Gelatin say it was "knitted by dozens of grannies out of pink wool".

Wolfgang Gantner, a group member said: "It's supposed to make you feel small, like Gulliver. You walk around it and you can't help but smile."

He explained that the bunny is not just for walking around and they expect hikers to climb its 20 foot sides and relax on its belly.

The bunny attracts many visitors each year and can now be seen via satellite on the Internet. It is expected to remain on the mountain side until 2025

A spokesperson from Gelatine said: "Now even Google Maps is spotting the rabbit from outer-space."

The idea of giant art installations is not new. In June this year, artist Giancarlo Neri unveiled his giant writing desk and chair on Hampstead Heath.

(Sigh...) Such a shame. Gone are the days when...

Nonna was the strong one in the family, but as an Italian wife, she had to make Nonno feel like he was the strong one.

Nonna's kitchen was the place where the family sat around or listened to the reprimands, each relative taking turns berating the Italian crap out of you. "We hope it's not getting serious between you and that baldracca..."

Nonna's basement where the endless rhythms of the laundry and the endless tasks of cooking somehow mixed together. On a wood and coal-burning stove, she simmered spaghetti sauce and boiled the laundry in a huge kettle, stirring it with a long wooden stick. "Hey Nonna, did you know washing machines are the rage in Africa? Who would have thought?"

Nonna armed with cooking utensils that could easily have doubled as lethal weapons, from the "bastone" (a huge, clublike polenta paddle) to the "mezzaluna" (an extremely sharp, crescent-shaped blade with handles on both ends) speaking to you in an overly melodious, annoying tone. "Come closer...I won't hurt you."

Nonna wouldn't reveal the secrets of her signature dishes with ungrateful daughter-in-laws with questionable family backgrounds.

Nonna would slip the leftover cinders between the sheets to heat the family beds, then reserving the ashes for washing clothes. "Hey Nonna, declaring this house a fire hazard would be the understatement of the century."

Nonna sweltering in the kitchen, building entire cuisines on leftover bread and trying to come up with new and improved ways to serve hard-boiled eggs. "Meatloaf prepared with hardboiled eggs and no meat...pure genius, Nonna."

 

Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
 
 
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