Archive for the ‘why do they do that’ Category

How to Vote an an Italian Living Abroad

VOTE!There has been a *huge* increase in requests for recognition of Italian citizenship over the past several years–my and my father’s requests included.

Along with “creating” many more Italian citizens in the world, this also means that many (non- or little-speaking Italian) people are becoming eligible to vote in Italian elections for the first times in their lives.

And believe me, the process is *very* different than in the United States.

As I think there may be quite a few people out there confused by the instructions, I’m going to break it down here, in English, and urge you–if you are an Italian citizen, PLEASE exercise your right to VOTE in this election.


Every Italian citizen residing abroad should be registered with the local consulate in the A.I.R.E. (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti Estero). If you are, you should have already received a packet from your consulate including:

  • Your electoral certificate (with your name on giving you the right to vote);
  • Two (2) different colored ballots (pink for the Camera dei Deputati and blue for the Senato); if you are under the age of 25, you will receive only a ballot for the Camera;
  • Two (2) envelopes (one small, blank, and white and the other larger and self-addressed and stamped to your consulate);
  • The list of candidates for your area; and
  • An information sheet.

1. First of all, grab and use a blue or black pen.

2. Now, an aside to explain a little of what’s going on with the ballots: below the main candidates, all of the people on their “lists” are from the “estero” or outside Italy; those elected will represent your interests as an Italian citizen residing abroad.

Depending on where you live, you will be able to vote for differing numbers of deputati and senatori–don’t worry, the number of blank lines will tell you how many you are allowed to write in.

If you are in North or Central America like my dad, for example, you can vote for 2 deputati and 1 senatore.

So . . .

3. To vote, you place an X over the logo of the party of your choice.

My advice is this one:

Partito Democratico

Vote for Veltroni! Woohoo!

4. Now you can write in your choices for senatori and deputati as described above being extremely careful to copy the names exactly as printed on the list. And don’t write anything else!

[If you would like my suggestions on senatori and deputati please contact me privately; find information on the candidates (in Italian) here.]

5. Fold and put your two ballots in the small blank white envelope and seal it.

6. Put that envelope inside the bigger envelope addressed to the consulate.

7. Tear off the bottom part of your electoral certificate at the perforation, put that in the big envelope with the ballots, and seal it.

8. Mail it off–it must be received by your consulate by April 10–and wait for election results.

Optional: buy some prosecco if you’re feeling particularly confident in your party.

This page has a fabulous graphic of this whole process. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me.

And, in case I haven’t been clear . . .


*Special thanks to the website of Gino Bucchino, candidate for Camera dei Deputati for Central and North America with Partito Democratico‘s (and my) main man, Walter Veltroni; and I’m not just saying this because Bucchino was born in Calabria, I swear.

news from italy (couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried)

* Have you joined The Ultimate Blog Party? See my welcome post here! *

Remember when I told you that men can no longer (legally) grab their crotches in public in the Bel Paese any more?

Well I have some more tidbits for you. Let’s link arms and stroll through these.

* Lying about adultery to police is OK! *

Lily by Michael Banks on AllPosters.comFor women, at least. Italy’s highest appellate court has ruled that it is permissible for a married woman to lie about extra-marital, ahem, activity in a judicial investigation because adultery damages her honor.

Yes, this court referred to a woman’s honor.

In 2008.

In unrelated news, former U.S. President Bill Clinton has announced plans to move to Italy and fight for equality under the law. Hah! Just kidding! Still love ya Bubba! Go Hibs!

Of course the Italian court in question is the same one that once ruled that a woman wearing tight jeans couldn’t, by definition, be raped because said jeans could only be removed with her consent. That ruling was, by the way, later overturned.

* If you have pending criminal charges against you, run for office! *

Italy’s left confronts BerlusconiFormer Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial on corruption charges has been suspended until after next month’s elections . . . in which Berlu is seeking to become Italy’s Prime Minister. Again.

And he’s leading in the polls folks. Gah!

Should he win, I’m sure he’ll just pass a law that says he can’t be brought to trial during his reign as Prime Minister. You know, like he’s done before.

Or maybe he’ll just decriminalize the offenses with which he’s charged. You know, like he’s done before.

Yes, we have our own version of Teflon Don over here, although to be clear, I do not insinuate or imply any Mafia connections regarding Berlusconi, who estimates he’s been in nearly 100 court cases since entering the political realm.

Convictions? Hah! You funny.

So that’s what’s new over here. And you thought Hillary’s being called a “monster” was scandalous.

if you can’t touch yourself, who can you touch?

Contro-malocchio hornDid you know that it is now illegal for Italian men to touch their genitals in public?

So ruled Italy’s highest court, which wrote that such touching “has to be regarded as an act contrary to public decency, a concept including that nexus of socio-ethical behavioral rules requiring everyone to abstain from conduct potentially offensive to collectively held feelings of decorum.”

Such big words for a simple act!

As all of us living with Italian men know, a man’s touching of his, ahem, nether regions is a well-established and time-honored method of warding off malocchio.

And I don’t just mean someone giving someone else the Evil Eye–I’m talking about the mere mention/implication/thought of death or other bad things happening (I can see P “protecting” himself even as I type this!).

So, Italy’s highest court, until you’re willing to outlaw bad luck, I’m thinking gratuitous crotch-grabbing in the Bel Paese is here to stay.

I’m just sayin.

And speaking of cannoli . . . hah!

Buon weekend!

P.S. Thanks Carol for the tip on the news piece!


[tags]malocchio, italy, italian men[/tags]

philadelphia going to the birds

rhode island red by Sidereal on FlickrLast week, a high school in my former adopted city of Philadelphia was closed for a day while personnel cleaned up after 85 Rhode Island Reds.

For the fowly-challenged, those are hens.

On Sunday, February 10 around 9:30 p.m., four unidentified males entered Northeast Philadelphia High School and let the birds loose, supplying them with plenty of chicken feed throughout the hall. For some reason, no alarm sounded upon their entrance and the hens weren’t discovered until hours later when the “school building engineer” showed up for work.

Can you imagine that guy’s face?

School was, not surprisingly, canceled that day, and the incident is under investigation by the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia police, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Students returned to the bird-free zone the following day. Here’s one them, senior Laura Weiszer, with a t-shirt commemorating the hen invasion:

I’m into chickens ya’ll

“I’m into chickens ya’ll” is what’s written on there.

As for the hens, they were taken to nearby Fox Chase Farm. Sorry, but I can’t help wondering about the wisdom of letting the hens in the foxhouse. Hah!

The Philadelphia School District has two farms and will keep some of whatever hens aren’t claimed by their rightful owners.

I have to admit that I thought this was all pretty funny when I read it–especially after I was assured that the pranksters left food for the hens.

Even school officials saw the humor; in reference to the fines that those responsible will have to pay, district spokesman Fernando Gallard said, “It’s not going to be chicken scratch.”

See, if this happened in Italy, all the hen droppers would need to do is come up with a motive behind the “protest” and they wouldn’t have to pay anything.

And really, wasn’t this *so* much more inventive than simply throwing some balls down the Spanish Steps?

A whole lot messier though.


[tags]philadelphia, hens, rhode island reds, northeast philadelphia high school, fox chase farm[/tags]

italy’s government falls…again

Italian opposition senators celebrate with champagne after the confidence vote in the SenateLast night Prime Minister, er Former Prime Minister, Romano Prodi lost a confidence vote in Italy’s Senate after he had easily won in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house. You can read details about what happened here and read my friend Paola’s take (with which I happen to agree) on the whole thing here (in English).

FYI, the lead-up to the vote included spitting, fainting, and one senator being taken out on a stretcher. And yes, those are Prodi’s oh-so-mature opponents popping the bubbly just after the results were announced in the above photo. They were actually scolded on live television by Senate President Franco Marini who told them to put away the bottle as “We’re not in an osteria.”

So what does this mean? Well we could be looking at either an interim caretaker government (which just might be led by . . . Prodi) *or* a so-called snap election.

Because goodness knows what Italy needs is more elections. It’ll be up to President Giorgio Napolitano to decide.

As Eric Reguly notes in this article, this turn of events opens the door for the return of Silvio Berlusconi, Former Prime Minister, billionaire, controller of a large chunk of Italian media, and, in some political circles, the Anti-Christ, as the leader of the Bel Paese.

On a personal note, this could also mean that I’d get to vote for two countries’ leaders in one year.

Still, I’d prefer the interim government to give President Napolitano a bit of time to fix the electoral system so that fewer parties would be able to spit (literally as it turns out) and fight for control in Parliament. The last election put 40 different parties in there, which turned into a lot of power struggles, strange bed fellows, repeated confidence votes, and general chaos.

Ah, and a fallen government.

Kinda feels like déjà vu all over again, doesn’t it?

The last time Italy’s government fell eleven months ago, I posted this and suggested we all turn to alcoholic children’s snacks to ease our pain.

But I say we up the ante.

I hear that Hershey’s is making some mints whose packages resemble street packets of cocaine–although not for too much longer, so hurry and grab yours today! Talk about an Ice Breaker!

Click here for a photo on the off-chance that you, too, had no idea what a mint that resembles a street packet of cocaine might look like.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Buon weekend a tutti!


[tags]italy, italian government, romano prodi, silvio berulsconi, confidence vote, giorgio napolitano, politics, hershey’s, icebreakers[/tags]

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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