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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May 2005
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"Socialism Is a Fraud, a Comedy, a Phantom, a Blackmail"


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"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to another incredibly late issue of "Only In Italy!"

Ciao Pasquale,

I miss your letters and look forward to hearing back from you all soon.

I am trying to convince "mio marito" (husband) to visit Sicilia in Ottobre o Novembre. Can you please help me by telling me what to expect weather-wise from your home at that time of year? Also, any "back door" Sicilian things to do that are not on the usual itinerary of a tourist. Ciao e grazie! Cindy

Thanks for the letter, Cindy.

We sincerely appreciate all the wonderful letters we have received these past weeks. Once again, we are working on returning to writing and distributing our strange newsletter on a 5-day-a-week basis. We thank you for all your patience and support.

Regarding your inquiry, the weather in Sicily in October and November is absolutely perfect; lots of sun, not too hot and not too cold.

There happens to be a great "back door" activity you can get involved in especially if you are into extreme running sports.

Have you ever tried to dodge hundreds of sheep? It's fantastic!

You start out by jogging towards an oncoming flock of sheep. Dodging them out is not too difficult for most of them will try to avoid you even if they're forced to jump off a cliff. Then you have to try to avoid the cursing sheepherder as he throws rocks and wooden staffs at you. Finally, the last sprint involves avoiding his mangy and angry mutts that will try to rip off at least one of your limbs.

Try to find that in your favorite travel book!

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Truck Hooks Wheelchair, 2 Year Old Dies in Valtellina

Sondrio - April 30, 2005 - A horrifying road accident occurred in Tirano, Valtellina, where a truck latched onto a wheelchair killing Marco, a child aged two, who was inside it.

According to a reconstruction of facts, the child's mother was pushing the wheelchair when the truck that was on a service road arrived at the intersection near Road 38.

The driver did not realize his truck had latched onto the wheelchair during the maneuvering. The truck dragged the wheelchair for 300 meters. The wheelchair unhooked only when the truck arrived at the Madonna's circle, the Marian sanctuary. Little Marco was seriously injured and did not survive.

His mother could not do anything but cry and run after the truck that was dragging her son. When rescuers arrived at the scene, there was nothing left to do. The child died and priest, Don Gianni Bruseghini, blessed the corpse.

The truck driver was charged with manslaughter, his vehicle was seized. Tirano mayor, Pietro De Simone is beside himself with grief: "It is a great tragedy. We must respect the family's grief and it is not the moment to make judgments and accusations regarding road circulation. Road 38 is an old problem" he said.

In the same place where little Marco died another child was knocked down and killed by a car ten years prior.

What a poor shame! We offer our sincerest condolences to Marco's family.

It's no surprise that Italy's roads are among the most dangerous in Europe. In southern Italy, one has to be twice as careful and alert when traveling the open roads.

For example, Palermo...

The Palermitanos seem to think of their cars as a kind of battering ram. Every single car in the city has a dent somewhere, and the war that is Palermitano traffic is like nothing you've ever seen, topping even Napoli for the "Pure Driving Insanity" award, as well as the "Park Your Car Wherever The Hell You Want" award.

And at the end of the school day, the streets (and sidewalks) turn into the movie set of "Saving Private Ryan" with Nazi 12-year-olds on death runs with their scooters!

Then you have the Mafia truck drivers that race their 12 foot wide cement trucks down 12.5 foot wide alleys!

And if the scooters or the trucks don't leave their tracks on you...the sheep and goats will!

It is very common to see sheepherders, who look like they stepped out of a fairy tale book, take to the open roads with their flocks. They travel first thing in the morning and sometime in the late afternoon. Apparently, in southern Italy, rush hour drives also include farm animals. You have to hold your breath and pray that the flocks pass around your rental car because the rams have very big horns which tend to "key" cars.


A Law Dogs Would Love to Write

Rome - April 24, 2005 - Dog owners in Torino will be fined up to $650 if they don't walk their pets at least three times a day, under a new law from the city's council.

People will also be banned from dyeing their pets' fur or "any form of animal mutilation" for merely aesthetic motives such as docking dogs' tails, under the law about to be passed in the northern Italian city.

"In Torino it will be illegal to turn one's dog into a ridiculous fluffy toy," the city reported.

Italians can already be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend a year in prison if found guilty of torturing or abandoning their pets, but Torino's new rules go into much greater detail.

Dogs may be led for walks by people on bicycles, the rules say, "but not in a way that would tire the animal too much."

Italy considers itself an animal-loving nation and in many cities stray cats are protected by law. Still some 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year, according to animal rights groups.

To enforce the law, Torino police would rely largely on the help of tipsters spotting cruel treatment by their neighbors.

It said the 20-page rule book gives Torino the most stringent animal protection rules in the country. It even bans fairgrounds from giving away goldfish in plastic bags.

"Ma...per favore!"

I can't believe the audacity of Torino's city council along with all the free time they obviously have!

As if our daily lives aren't difficult enough, now we have to worry about pets ratting us out to the Italian Polizia.

How do you enforce these incredibly brilliant laws?
How do you check that dogs have been walked three times?
How about braces for dogs with crooked teeth?
Should we compliment dogs when they wipe their mouths on our expensive Italian designer sofas?
Should dogs start to express concern if you don't shave your legs?

And as far as cats are concerned, we wouldn't exactly say 200,000 cats are mistreated and abandoned every year.

They abandon the Italians!

Have you ever visited the Roman Ruins?
They are invaded by cats.
They live in priceless real estate where humans cannot reach them and they're fed incredibly well.


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Italy Finally Returns Looted Obelisk to Ethiopia

Rome - April 25, 2005 - A decades-long diplomatic dispute between Italy and Ethiopia over the looted Axum obelisk was finally put to an end on Monday, as the monument returned home 68 years after it was stolen by Italian fascist troops.

Thousands, including Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giogis, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Paulos, and Italian ambassador Guido La Tella, watched the giant Russian-built Antonov cargo plane land at the small Axum airport in northern Ethiopia with a 50-ton granite block onboard.

It was the third and final piece of the dismantled obelisk. It joins other two pieces of the same weight which arrived last week. By the end of the year, they will be re-united and re-erected in Axum.

"I am very happy. This is not merely a piece of stone, it is our identity... It is the end of a very bad chapter," Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said.

The funeral stone, or stele, is one of a group of six obelisks erected at Axum when Ethiopia adopted Christianity in the 4th century A.D.

It was stolen by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1937 and turned into a symbol of fascist power during his short-lived efforts to revive the grandeur of imperial Rome.

To the anger of Ethiopia, Italy had long failed to deliver on promises to return the 1,700-year old monument.

The country signed a first agreement with the United Nations in 1947 and a second with the Ethiopian government in 1997 for restitution of all looted property, including the Axum obelisk.

In 2000 and 2001, Italy renewed the commitment. Nevertheless, the 1,700 year old monument stood at the center of Rome's Piazza di Porta Capena, near the Colosseum, until last year, when it was dismantled by Italian experts.

Returning the 180-ton, 24-meter (78-foot) high obelisk has not been a easy feat. When Mussolini took it to Italy, it was already in fragments. It was restored in Rome using metal rods embedded in concrete, making it very hard to disassemble.

It took six months to dismantle, cut and transport it back to Axum.

"Not a single fragment has been lost during these operations," said Michele Daniele, the architect who supervised the dismantling work.

Aptly, the last piece of the obelisk arrived in Axum on the day Italy celebrated Liberation Day, marking the 60th anniversary of the partisan uprising that helped free the country from fascism.

"It is a good occasion to celebrate this coincidence together. April 25 will be national holiday also in Ethiopia," Zenawi told reporters.

"Ma...porca puttana!" Throughout history, dictators have looted treasures, land and women from the countries they conquered. Our dictator looted heavy rocks!

With pieces of the Roman Coliseum and the Forum falling on the craniums of Romans at the time, who convinced Benny that we had to have this obelisk?

Then again, this is a man who had to exercise marvelous fascist practices by impounding black market toilets as they entered the country. At one point, Mussolini was said to have had more dogs trained to sniff out porcelain than to flush out refugees! However, Benny's hypocrisy eventually became his downfall. As the Allied Forces landed in Sicily in 1943, Benny's palace (comprised mostly of bathrooms) was ransacked and his 'amore' for comfortably-seated thrones was exposed to the still-squatting public.

Now, can you blame us for shooting and hanging him in a piazza?

Famous quotes from Benny Mussolini:

"Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail." More or less like Italian multi-level-marketing!

"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." All within my cranium, nothing outside my cranium, nothing against my cranium!

"It is humiliating to remain with our hands folded while others write history. It matters little who wins. To make a people great it is necessary to send them to battle even if you have to kick them in the pants. That is what I shall do." Let's unfold our hands and conquer Ethiopia! We'll write history by looting an extremely heavy tower of rock. No need to kick Ethiopian in the pants because, at the time, they didn't wear any.

"War is to man what maternity is to a woman. From a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, I do not believe in perpetual peace." Pepperoni is to pizza what antiperspirant is to armpits. For a philosophical and doctrinal viewpoint, ask Mussolini.

"This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: "Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the earth." Here lies a toilet lover with the intelligence of a drunk animal.

"The best blood will at some time get into a fool or a mosquito." There seems to be plenty of fools and mosquitoes in Italy. Make sure you bring enough bug spray the next time you visit.


Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
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