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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April 2004
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"Wanted: Box Springs for Hospitals."


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"Buona Pasqua!" Welcome to another, sometimes, law abiding issue of "Only In Italy!"

Here in Sicily, we've been a little uneasy ever since some large scale arrests had recently taken place. No one was spared! 43 people arrested among politicians, mayors, counselors, contractors, engineers and farmers who dealt with everything from Mafia related to farming. You might say to yourself, "What else is new?" Well, apparently these arrests made news in China!

You could just imagine the discussions that took place in the rice patties of China; "I'd rather be here stooped over, picking rice, hailing communism and riding my bike, than live in Sicily!"

"Soltanto in Italia" è meraviglioso! Actually, that's how Babel Fish translated 'Only in Italy'. It is wonderful!

I'm an American with some Italian ancestors who was married to an Italian man for ten years. Needless to say, I was never good enough for my Sicilian mother-in-law, but even as a no-good American mongrel I learned to appreciate some of the finer political maneuverings of being part of an Italian clan, if only by marriage. When my husband became involved with American Mafia, I cut my losses. I'm loving this newsletter! Mille grazie! Nancy that's a story that breaks the heart.

Look on the bright side, Nancy. At least you no longer have to wash his 7 pairs of matching jogging suits, attend shady & peculiar family picnics, eat in Italian restaurants infested with hidden microphones, attend bocce tournaments and listen to the ignorant ramblings of his friends' wives.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

A Stop for a Cappuccino After a Burglary, Arrested

Rome - March 24, 2004 - After robbing a pharmacy in the Cinecittà section of Rome, they walked into a bar for a cappuccino and cornetto (a croissant-like pastry). Afterwards, they went into the bathroom, changed their clothes and left the bar in total tranquility throwing away in the street the box cutter used to threaten the people present in the pharmacy.

But waiting for them were police officers of the Tuscolano precinct who arrested them and recovering the cash stolen.

The two, Orazio Ioanna, 30, and Fabio Russo, 39, already known by the police for previous robberies, did not realize when they fled the pharmacy in the vicinity of the Acquedotti park, that they were being followed by the pharmacy owner who witnessed them entering the bar in Viale Giulio Agrciola and had called the police.

The officers arrested them with the stolen cash amount of 300 Euros along with the box cutter used in the robbery.

"Bravi!" Did you notice that the article did not state what time of day the crime was committed? You might say to yourself, "Who cares? It's funny anyway!"

And it is funny!

But these 2 remarkable geniuses were caught, not only because they were seen entering the bar, but because they wanted to make sure that they wouldn't break an even more important and, sometimes, sacred law in Italy...drinking coffee at the wrong hour.

IMPORTANT: First of all, you drink your coffee at a bar, not in a café. In the morning, as long as it is before 10:30, you can sit down with a cappuccino and cornetto, but in the afternoon you stand at the bar, drink your espresso down in three sips, then leave immediately!

It is only permissible to drink cappuccino until 10:30 a.m. The same goes for a caffè latte or a latte macchiato. No milky coffees shall be consumed after mid-morning. The waiters of Italy wage a constant, vigilant battle against anyone who try to go against the rules. "It is bad for your digestion" is their invariable and annoying response. Just the thought of having a cappuccino after lunch makes them go weak with nausea.

So, you see, this crime was poorly organized. The pharmacy had to be robbed and the cappuccinos & cornettos consumed by 10:30 a.m. These two had obviously overslept and robbed the pharmacy too close to the coffee deadline. But instead of taking the unholy risk of ruining their entire morning by skipping coffee, they entered the bar and ordered (it was either that or take the risk of drinking coffee off-hours and arousing suspicion among the coffee-conscious Italians).

So, if you're a thief, tourist, or a tourist who wants to be a thief, make sure your illegal activities DO NOT cross Italy's strict coffee drinking schedule.

400 Telephones Disabled to Rob a Clothing Store

Vicenza - March 9, 2004 - Technicians of the telephone company had worked the entire day to restore the lines and services.

Almost 400 telephones disabled and 2,400 lines cut: all for a daring robbery. It occurred in Altavilla, in the province of Vicenza. The thieves had broken into a store and stolen approximately 5000 designer jackets for a value of 70,000 Euros.

The sabotage had permitted the criminals to avoid that anyone who could have activated an alarm.

"Porca Miseria!" How are you going to sound off an alarm with 2,400 phone lines cut? Storeowners in the neighboring countries like Slovenia wouldn't have been able to sound off an alarm.

Here are Italian thieves whose motto must be, "You can't ever be too careful."

Those lazy cappuccino-sipping pecker heads from the previous article could have learned a thing a two from these pros. "Drink your cappuccinos a day before a robbery! Make sure all the lines in every bar in the vicinity of 10 blocks of a possible target are cut!"


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Hospital Full, Sign at the Entrance: "Bring box springs from home"

Palermo - February 24, 2004 - All hospital divisions completely full, 13 children recovered in the hallways.

"Bring box springs (brandine) from home." This is the sign that was posted at the entrance of the Hospital for Babies of Palermo, Sicily; the biggest in the Sicilian capital. A nurse went as far as to be attacked by a desperate parent while other relatives had filed charges of the situation at the General Attorney's office of Palermo.

The health director, Antonio Nascè, also borough council clerk for health, had arranged an emergency meeting with the managers and hoped to announce a technical solution as soon as possible.

"Per l'amore di Dio!" Realize what the public health care system of Southern Italy has been reduced to.

When a children's hospital asks you to bring your own *brandine, your children are in a load of Italian trouble even before they set foot in the hospital. 

*(brandine is Italian for an old fashioned box spring that was once used to support single mattresses. Today, they are mostly found in old farm houses.)

Yes, it is true that the Italian public health care is practically free for Italian citizens BUT you get what you pay for:

- Need a doctor's examination? You have to insist that you want to be examined in person and not over the phone.

- Need medicine? It's discounted 80% by the government but the racketeer pharmacists charge an additional 50%.

- Need a second opinion? Call another doctor in another country.

- Need surgery? If you're lucky, you won't get operated in a hallway or in the ambulance garage.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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