news from italy: love, olive oil, and lamborghinis

Ninety-nine-years-young Maria Caterina Reitano moved to Australia at age 41 from Reggio Calabria and will turn 100 years old in January. She has turned down several marriage proposals in her lifetime (two from the same man) and has never made love to a man, but that doesn’t mean her search for love is over.

When she was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph for a story on her, ahem, status, she made it a point to say, “Tell them I’m single.”


Do you think you know your olive oil?

If so, you might look into joining Italy’s anti-food piracy unit, 20 specially-trained officers who are in charge of tasting olive oil and identifying counterfeit versions claiming to be extra-virgin.

In April of this year, 25,000 liters of oil were confiscated and 25 people arrested when it was discovered that what was being sold as olive oil was really vegetable oil infused with beta carotene and chlorophyll. Similar tales of fake olive oil have become disturbingly common in recent years, so hopefully this squad knows their stuff.


As the home of Armani, Prada, Versace, Gucci, and Dolce e Gabbana, Italians are known for style. Rest assured the police can continue that reputation now that Lamborghini has donated a specially-designed car to the polizia.

This €175,200 ($220,000) Lamborghini Gallardo has a 560-horsepower engine and can reach speeds of up to 325 kpr (200 mph); it also has a mini-refrigerator inside for organ transport and a built-in defibrillator for emergencies.

Pretty stylin’ huh?

So what’s up where you are?

13 Beans of Wisdom to “news from italy: love, olive oil, and lamborghinis”
  1. Gil

    The Lamborghini police car didn’t really shock me as it seems that the run of the mill car for carabiniere is the Alfa Romeo! Also, found it strange that they use BMW bikes versus Ducati. It seems that they catch people mixing other oils with olive oil every few years or so.

    Beautiful oil display!

    Isn’t that a great photo?! I love it too. I’m just happy they didn’t actually *buy* a Lamborghini with the financial mess we’re in….

  2. 10.27.2008

    I am trying to think why I saw that car. I hardly go anywhere!

    You know what? I think her search for love was over long ago. Whatever she thinks love is, it has not attracted her one bit. I also wonder why newspapers etc. find women’s virginity, marriage proposals, social status so interesting. Were she a man I think the questions would be different, or not asked at all.

    I know there’s been a Lamborghini floating around the south for a while now–had been a seized vehicle–but this is the first donated and specially made for the police, as far as I know. It’s supposed to patrol in Bologna, I believe.

    As for Maria, in the defense of the news media (gah!), her family actually sought out the interview as another woman had a similar story; I think they find men’s “stories” interesting as well too, albeit in a *very* different way, although I think even that is changing. Playboy/ladies’ men stories used to be dirt, but now it’s either so commonplace that we’re not interested or it’s just plain boring 😉

  3. 10.27.2008

    Great bits of Italy. The Lambo makes me smile, but the oil counterfeiting makes me sad…

    Beatriz’s last blog post..If only this skill could get me a high paying job!

    It is sad, I agree. I’m grateful that we can get our olive oil locally–from neighbors.

  4. The car is fab.

    Maria turned down several proposals? Maybe she just doesn’t want to get married.

    Yeah I think you and Judith are onto something; clearly she isn’t interested in marrying…although I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a companion at this point.

  5. Maryann

    How cool is that car!

    Maryann’s last blog post..Bones of the Dead *Ossa Dei Morti

    Pretty darn cool, I agree 🙂

  6. 10.27.2008

    Hey. Hmm, whats new?

    Just home from trip to Montreal and Quebec City. And believe it or not we saw not one, but two of those Lamborghini’s in Montreal. C was drooling of course.

    My Mélange’s last blog post..Love Thursday : Sweets for the Sweet

    I’m always startled whenever I see fancy cars just parked somewhere…kind of like seeing a celebrity 😉

  7. Carla

    For some reason I recall that Lamborghini story from a few years back, I know they had (or still have) one for the A3 highway from Salerno to Reggio…
    Anyway, the story about Maria is too cute and actually refreshing to read! Thanks for the updates. Not much interesting news happening in Beantown :-/

    Carla, I remember that story too–for a few years the police have been using a Lamborghini that was seized through arrests, but this story is a bit different, with the car donated by the company (the first, of course, was “donated” by a criminal) 😉

  8. Margie

    Love it, I mean really where else are you going to have that variety of exciting and not so common news. I can’t recall seeing a Lamborghini on the streets of New Jersey chasing after anyone or the food police checking my oil quality. In the states, you’re on your own when it comes to food quality. Its safe to say..your news variety is better Michelle. So fun.

    Margie’s last blog post..JOE AVATI, Is He Really The Italian Version of Seinfeld….???

    Glad you enjoyed Margie; I love these kind of news stories…much better than always seeing the bad stuff that unfortunately is all around us 🙁

  9. 10.27.2008

    1. She’s waited this long for true love? He better be worth it! I hope she finds him soon. How incredible!

    2. Fraudulent oil? Are you serious? So… that’s kind of like snake oil salesman over here, isn’t it?
    … and, uh… chlorophyll? Are you serious? YIKES. Are there any brands that you think are particularly good? Maybe I can find them here, because I use olive oil a lot.

    3. I am -SO…VERY…- jealous… of the car, not the cops. Maybe I should join the Italian police force so that I can drive that car. Hmm.


    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Wanderlust Scarlett’s last blog post..Autumn In Denver

    I seem to remember using Bertolli when I was in the US; I don’t know of any problems with that one 🙂

  10. 10.28.2008

    What an amazing face she has! I hope that I’m just as cheeky when/if I get to be her age.

    amyemilia’s last blog post..Early voting in Houston

    Indeed! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  11. 10.29.2008

    Stylin’ indeed. I was always impressed with how stylish all things in Italia seemed to be!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Settling In

    An amazing country for sure, Jen 😉

  12. 10.29.2008

    I guess we’re just going to have to stick to local producers of olive oil. Good thing California has a lot of olive oil makers!

    Nate’s last blog post..Aunty Marlene’s Banana Muffins Recipe

    Good thing indeed, Nate 🙂

  13. 11.01.2008

    Very interesting about the fraudulent olive oil, I had no idea that this was so common, but it’s nice to know we have officers on the case!

    Heidi /’s last blog post..French Onion Soup

    Indeed Heidi! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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