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 About Time To Legalize Homemade Grappa"



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"No, non mi va" Welcome to the newsletter that believes Italy needs another political party to protect the interests of Regional Government managers who one. "Only In Italy!"

"Grazie". Despite not being Italian and having many Italian friends, this newsletter constantly keeps me very amused. Keep them coming! Genevieve

"Grazie" to you, Gene.

Believe us, you don't need Italian friends to be amused. You can have the laughs of your life just watching them from a distance.  

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,             
"Only In Italy" Staff      

Statues of Mafia Criminals Shocks Rome

Statues of Mafia Criminals Shocks RomeRome - October 15, 2008 - A marketing company on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the installation of four statues representing the former bosses of Rome's most feared criminal gang in a public garden.

The polystyrene busts representing the leaders of the Magliana Gang were placed in Rome's EUR district as part of a so-called guerrilla marketing campaign to advertise an upcoming 12-part miniseries on the gang to be aired on Sky Cinema 1 next month.

The campaign included a video released on YouTube early on Wednesday morning that showed masked men pull up in a white van to install the four statues in the garden in front of the famous Fascist-era Palazzo della Civilta'.

The Magliana Gang dominated the Roman crime scene throughout the 1970s and 1980s and was responsible for numerous killings and robberies as well as drug trafficking. It was feared not just for the murders it committed but also for its reputed links with the Mafia, freemasonry and rightwing extremists.

Office staff on their way to work were astonished to see the busts bearing the nicknames of gang bosses Enrico De Pedis, Maurizio Abbatino, Franco Giuseppucci and Danilo Abbrucciati in the garden.

"It's incredible. It's like they want to glorify assassins," said a passer-by.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno also slammed the unconventional publicity stunt, describing it as "an initiative in bad taste". The busts were eventually removed from the area, where the marketing company had received permission to carry out the stunt from the company that manages EUR's buildings. The miniseries' press office stressed that the busts had the faces of the actors who portray them rather than the real bosses. They also claimed that the publicity campaign was supposed to have a second phase.

"The final objective was to destroy the statues to show that crime doesn't pay", a spokesman said.

'Crime does pay' is the official slogan of the miniseries, entitled Criminal Story and adapted from a book written by judge Giancarlo De Cataldo and a film directed by Michele Placido, both of the same name.

"Vaffanculo!" If we were to erect statues of all the former bosses of every Italian criminal gang in the public gardens of Italy, there wouldn't be enough space for you to pick your nose.

The "Banda della Magliana" was Rome's most feared criminal organization. The phrase "most feared" implies there was more than one.

The Banda della Magliana was involved in criminal activities tied to other criminal organizations such as Cosa Nostra, Camorra or 'Ndrangheta, but most importantly also to neofascist activists, the secret services (SISMI) and the freemasonic lodge Propaganda Due (P2).

These ties, underground compared to their standard activities (drug dealing, horse bets, money laundering, etc.), have led the Banda to be related to the political events of the conflict which divided Italy into two during the Cold War, and in particular to events such as the 1978 murder of Prime minister Aldo Moro.

Finally, the mysterious disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, a case linked to former Grey Wolves member Mehmet Ali Agca's 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, has also been related to the gang.

Now, one has to wonder. Back in the 1970s and 80s when tourists were roaming the Roman streets with their maps and tour guides, going around in circles, asking for directions to the Fountain of Trevi, didn't anyone notice the football games going on in the streets?

But's the kick in the "coglioni":

In the center of Rome, near Piazza Navona, there is "Saint Apollinare Church", with its crypt underneath its Basilica, where Popes, Cardinals and Christian martyrs are buried. There you will find the grave of Enrico De Pedis, also known as "Renatino", the most powerful leader of the Magliana gang.

"Cazzo", if the Vatican can allow "Renatino" to be buried in a Rome Basilica, then I demand to be buried next to Michelangelo!


Sleep-Deprived Residents Want End To Bell Ringing

Bolzano - October 17, 2008 - Sleep-deprived residents of this northern Italian town have hired a lawyer to try to stop local friars disturbing their Sunday lie-ins with fusillades of bell-ringing.

Experts have carried out "sound pollution tests" within earshot of the friars' church and tallied the number of bell tolls at 7 a.m. on a recent Sunday at 96, local papers reported on Friday.

"We will try to find the most suitable juridical way to induce the friars to tone down their ringing," lawyer Stefano D'Apolito told papers.

The sleepy-Sunday lovers said they would agree to a "reasonable number of peals at a more reasonable time".

"Santa Maria Madonna", I can't believe all the ringing that's going on in my head.

Loud church bells - real bells - and lots of them. Italy has among the highest density of churches and bells in Europe. They all ring at noon, and some of them ring on the hour, every hour...and all night!

In Venice, San Marco rings at apparently random times (11:35, 3:15, 18:00, 6:20, or whenever the priests just feel like it.) One would assume that there's a logical explanation and a schedule...but there isn't. They're pretty impressive for a tourist who hears them for the first time. One clangs and then the others join in, clanging wildly and loudly around you for a minute or two, and then die down, leaving just one at the end. Remember: "The bells toll for your wallet."

A majority of the churches have a computerized sound system with more than 400 songs available including "Ave Maria," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," and "Joy to the World" for the Christmas Holidays. Some of them push the limit when they play Neil Sedaka.

So, take your warm bath, drink your warm milk and herbal tea and good luck.

"Cornuto", nothing like a loud bell clanging from midnight to 4 a.m. to let you know what time it is and remind you you haven't fallen asleep yet, and from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. to remind you you have to get up soon.


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Bill Proposed To Legalize Homemade Grappa

Bill Proposed To Legalize Homemade GrappaRome - October 16, 2008 - The National Grappa Institute (ING) on Thursday warned that a bill proposed by three Northern League senators to make distilling Italy's famous spirit at home legal would result in "extremely high" health risks.

ING President Cesare Mazzetti said he was "severely disappointed" that the Senate's Agriculture Committee had approved the bill, which would allow people to make up to 30 liters of Grappa a year as long as they abide by hygiene regulations and did not sell it.

"The health risks are extremely high and we are astonished that nobody seems to be taking this problem seriously," he said.

According to Mazzetti, do-it-yourself Grappa-makers do not have the know-how to remove the toxic by-products of distillation such as methyl alcohol efficiently.

"In Italy there are thought to be tens of thousands of illegal distilleries which, if legalized, could produce around 10 million bottles of Grappa. This situation would be difficult to control and potentially very dangerous," he said.

"We wouldn't want to see people being poisoned from home-made grappa in the next few months".

Mazzetti also took issue with the 30-litre limit, which he said was "incomprehensibly high considering the average consumption of Grappa by a family in a year is less than three liters".

Although neighboring Austria permits home spirit production, it is forbidden in Italy for hygiene and fiscal reasons.

But League senators Gianpaolo Vallardo, Enrico Montani and Sergio Divina pointed out that since Grappa is still being distilled on the sly, the bill would bring home-made Grappa production out into the open and outline a code of hygiene while safeguarding the business of authorized Grappa producers. Under the terms of the bill, DIY Grappa could only be drunk by the producer or served to guests if the producer runs a holiday farm.

Grappa was given a European Union seal of approval protecting it from inferior clones in 2005. Italy's strongly flavored transparent brandy is traditionally made from the pulpy mass of skins, pits and stalks left in the wine press after the grape juice has been extracted to make wine.

In some parts of the Alto Adige region, authorities tolerate people 'enriching' professionally made Grappa with herbs, watercress, cherries and even snakes, all of which are left to infuse in the drink.

Grappa leads the Italian spirits market with almost 20%, and there are more than 100 Grappa distilleries in Italy.

"Hey, scassapalle, just try a sip!"
"No thanks. I'll stick with my cereal at this hour of the morning."

For generations, Italians have sipped this "firewater" after meals and even added a little to their morning espresso, to "correct" it. That's as if their espresso was being taught a lesson for spending the night drinking with the guys.

But "holy cazzo", grappa is strong! Today's grappa is about 40 to 45 percent alcohol. For those of you who are health conscious because you operate heavy machinery that's 80 to 90 proof. It's the only liquor that will make you feel sick to your stomach while you're still in the bar. It'll make you go back to the farm and pray for daylight to come as soon as possible.

"In Italy there are thought to be tens of thousands of illegal distilleries which, if legalized, could produce around 10 million bottles of Grappa." That's all we need down here in the South; Italian Northerners that start drinking half-past yesterday, getting bitter and angry and blaming the ills of their delicately racist north on:

- illegal immigrants and every Italian Southerner below the confines of the Roman Coliseum for crime, violence and laziness,

- the Southerner who invented the dish "Pasta con le Sarde" (sardines), and

- Giuseppe Garibaldi for unifying Italy instead of minding his own business.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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