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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November 2004
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"Praise the Lord! Andreotti is Free!" 

(11/01/04)

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"Buon Giorno!" Welcome to the only newsletter that will not endorse Bush, Kerry, nor pizza with pineapples, "Only In Italy!"

Ciao a tutti...

I want to subscribe to "Catania Cornuto". Come faccio? Ho provato i vostri biscotti... Mamma mia, buonissimi... Chiudevo gli occhi quando li mangiavo e immaginavo di essere in Sicilia. Grazie. Mary

Thanks for the letter and for your compliments towards one of our affiliates, CookiesFromItaly.com, Mary!

We're sorry to burst your bubble but the "Catania Cornuto" and the Naples "Baccala Daily" are newsletters that do not exist. It was just sarcasm aimed at one of our wonderful but peculiar subscribers, Denise. (However; we're sure one of our readers will take an initiative and start one.)

But if you're still not convinced, please contact us immediately for we would like to sell you one of Julius Caesar's togas.

Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       


Italian Professor With Free Time Solves Da Vinci Mystery, Identifies Her

Florence - September 14, 2004 - Italian scholar Giuseppe Pallanti claims in a new book to have identified Mona Lisa, the woman whose mysterious smile has intrigued art lovers ever since Leonardo da Vinci painted her portrait 500 years ago.

"I used nothing but archival records," Pallanti told reporters in an interview. "This is not a novel."

A recent blockbuster work of fiction, "The Da Vinci Code", suggests that Mona Lisa was Leonardo's disguised self-portrait. Another theory is that she never existed at all.

But Pallanti said his research shows that she was, as his title asserts, a real person, who in 1495 married a wealthy Florentine silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo.

"When Del Giocondo took Lisa Gherardini as his second wife, she moved up in the world," Pallanti said.

"Her husband supplied textiles to the Medici family," then the dominant force in Florentine politics and culture, he noted.

One of the documents that supports his research is the will drawn up before Francesco's death in 1538, which is addressed to his wife, Pallanti said.

"Lisa Gherardini divided her life between Florence and Chianti," a wine-producing town in Tuscany, he said.

Lisa was about 24 years old when Leonardo began her portrait, which now hangs in the Louvre in Paris and is known in French as La Joconde, a corruption of the subject's married name, La Gioconda.

Pallanti's book highlights places such as Leonardo's birthplace, Vinci, and the village of Santissima Annunciata, where the painter lived from 1501 until 1503 and where Lisa prayed regularly in a chapel owned by her husband's family.

It notes that Leonardo's father was one of the most important notaries in Florence and that Del Giocondo was his client.

Lisa Gherardini was originally identified as the subject of the world's most famous painting by Leonardo's first biographer, the 16th-century Italian writer Giorgio Vasari.

But his claims were disputed after the painting was stolen from the Louvre in August 1911 and returned to the museum about two years later.

"Congratulazioni! Finalmente!"

You'll see. Your lives will significantly change now that we know who "Mona Lisa" really was. Your cappuccinos will taste better and Roman ruins will stop crumbling. This weekend we're going to celebrate this wonderful news by putting extra sauce and chopped sausage in our lasagna.

And what a surprise! The famous Lisa was the wife of a wealthy Florentine businessman/politician.

"Ciao Lenny. I'm certain you'll find time in your busy schedule to paint a wonderful and free portrait of my lovely wife."

From 1495-1503, life was a high school prom for Mona...and she was the queen.

 

Senator Andreotti Amazingly Cleared of Italy Mafia Ties

Rome - October 15, 2004 - Italy's top court on Friday definitively cleared former prime minister Giulio Andreotti of charges that he had been the Mafia's political godfather in the corridors of power.

"Wonderful, wonderful," Andreotti said. "I am happy to have reached the end of this trial alive. Some people would have liked me to have died before but here I am."

In a ruling that was widely expected, the highest appeals court in Italy upheld the verdict of two previous trials in the Sicilian capital Palermo that had cleared the statesman.

Still, it marked the final end to a judicial saga that began in 1993 when Andreotti was first accused of having protected the interests of the international crime group.

"There is great satisfaction today," said Andreotti's lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno. "After 12 years the nightmare is finally over."

Andreotti, now a life senator who served as prime minister seven times, has always maintained his innocence. His name is synonymous with political survival and cunning in the land that gave the world Machiavelli. The statesman, who was known as "Mr. Italy" abroad because he held virtually all positions of power short of the presidency during his career, was first cleared by a Palermo court in 1999.

The most shocking allegation against Andreotti had been that he had exchanged a kiss of respect with "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina, then Italy's most wanted man. Riina was arrested in 1993.

Palermo magistrates appealed but they lost again at a second trial that ended last year.

But the second Palermo verdict, which the Rome court confirmed on Friday, said that all accusations regarding his activity before 1980 would be automatically put aside because of a statute of limitations.

Opponents of the life-senator said this would always leave a shadow of doubt over his political career.

Much of the prosecution evidence was uncorroborated testimony from Mafia turncoats whom Andreotti accused of trying to settle old scores against him by lying in court.

LAST HURRAH FOR "ETERNAL GIULIO"

Friday's high court ruling was a personal vindication for Andreotti, a devout Catholic who goes to mass every day and has been a friend of every pope since World War II.

Last year, the same high court in Rome definitively cleared Andreotti of a charge of ordering the Mafia to kill a scandal-sheet journalist in 1979 because the reporter was about to publish material that could have harmed his career.

Italians call Andreotti "the eternal Giulio" because of his political longevity and few can remember a time when he was not on the national stage.

Andreotti was a living symbol of the now-defunct Christian Democrat (DC) party that ruled Italy for nearly half a century until it collapsed in a blaze of corruption scandals in the early 1990s.

Supporters say he helped transform Italy from a war-devastated agricultural backwater to an industrial power.

Critics have accused him of having been the quintessential back-room political wheeler-dealer in the post-war period.

A prolific writer of books and articles, Andreotti attended many hearings of all his trials, which he was not bound to do by Italian law, and took copious notes.

"Colpevole!" 

Well, he might be innocent...and people from Calabria might be level-headed.

Andreotti: "I am happy to have reached the end of this trial alive."
Hmmm...We don't know if he's referring to his old age or from avoiding being whacked.

Known as "Mr. Italy" abroad because he held virtually all positions of power short of the presidency during his career.
He forgot to run for Pope.

Andreotti had allegedly exchanged a kiss of respect with "boss of bosses" Salvatore "Toto" Riina.
It's not true. It was a kiss of passion and love (with tongue).

Rome court confirmed that all accusations regarding his activity before 1980 would be automatically put aside because of a statute of limitations.
God only knows who the hell he was kissing on New Years' Eve of '79.

A devout Catholic who goes to mass every day and has been a friend of every pope since World War II.
Oh, what a surprise... Then Mr. Italy deserves the right to be buried under St. Peter's at the Vatican.

Italians call Andreotti "the eternal Giulio" because of his political longevity.
The "eternal pecker head" first ran for public office when he picked his nose in front of his third grade classmates.

Andreotti was a living symbol of the now-defunct Christian Democrat (DC) party that ruled Italy for nearly half a century until it collapsed in a blaze of corruption scandals in the early 1990s.
When he saw that blaze coming, he got on a jackass, rode out of town and when to play "bocce" somewhere in Cosenza.

In conclusion, we would like to add the following keen observation; "At least no money was stolen during the trial."

 

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Ban on Saying "You Are Nobody"

"Asserting that an individual is a nonentity injures that person's dignity"

Trieste - October 19, 2004 - Did you see "The Untouchables"? Do you remember the scene where Robert De Niro, as Al Capone, tells the arresting officer, "You're nothing but a lot of talk and a badge"? Well, Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, would have given Al Capone a guilty verdict, but not for murder, a crime of which he was not convicted even in the United States. Nor would it have sent him down for tax evasion, as the judges in Chicago contrived to do. It would have convicted him of using offensive language. Actually, Giulio C. from Trieste had his own slight variation on the theme. He said "you are nobody", not "you are nothing".

It may have been because he was confronting not Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, but Stefano S., a car-park attendant with whom he was arguing about where to park his car. Whatever the case, it would have made little difference for the Court of Cassation. In the sentence that confirmed the 300-euro fine handed down by the court in Trieste, the Cassation judges went into the subject in detail. "The phrase 'you are nobody' means precisely 'you are a nonentity'. To assert that someone is a nonentity is generally accepted to be offensive because it insults the person's decorum, that is the physical, social and intellectual dignity of the individual".

For this reason, the court in Trieste was right to find grounds for a charge of using offensive language, punishable under Italian law by a fine of up to 516 euros, reduced to 300 because the accused had opted for a summary trial. Giulio will have to add a further 500 euros to that figure as the Court of Cassation awarded costs against him. The decision was influenced by the fact that "the offensive expression was not, moreover, justified by the behavior of the injured party, which was calm and polite". Another factor may have been the head butt Giulio inflicted on the attendant before making off in his car. He later maintained that the clash of heads was "accidental".

This is not the first time that the Court of Cassation has been called upon to pronounce judgment on language. In fact over the years, it has compiled a sort of handbook of legitimate offence, which sometimes perhaps lacks consistency. Here are a few examples. It is not offensive to call someone a "rompic******", ("pain in the ****"), an "expression that is most certainly impolite but now widely used". Nor is it intimidating to say "ti spacco il c***" ("I'll bust your ****") because it is a "robust reaction that should be understood in a figurative sense".

On the other hand, it is offensive to tell someone "non capisci un c***" ("you don't know ****), words that "are in common usage, but undoubtedly have the capacity to offend prestige and dignity". The same is true of the classic "vaffa*****" ("**** off"), especially if "accompanied by obscene gestures with evident injurious intent", and "sei una testa di c****" ("you are a ****head"). The black list also includes a number of words apparently above suspicion, such as "bambino" ("child") and "Don Abbondio" (the pusillanimous priest in Manzoni's classic novel "The Betrothed"). In these cases, what counts is the person to whom they were addressed, a superior at work in the first case and a magistrate in the second.

Legitimate offenses without the ***

Offense: rompic*** is "rompicoglione."
Translation: The correct translation is "ball breaker" and not "pain in the ass".

Offense: ti spacco il c*** is "ti spacco il culo."
Translation: "I'll bust or split your arse."

Illegitimate offenses without the ***

Offense: "sei nessuno."
Translation: "You are nobody."

Offense: non capisci un c*** is "non capisci un cazzo."
Translation: "You don't understand a (male's private part)."

Offense: vaffa*** is "vaffanculo."
Translation: "Go get it up your arse."

Offense: sei una testa di c*** is "sei una testa di cazzo" or "sei una testa di coglione."
Translation: "You are a (male's private part) head."

 

Julian - Julius Caesar's cousin
 
 
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