Saturday, March 06, 2010


Sometimes I feel sorry for Italy, as it often does things for the best of reasons but it backfires. Here are two articles of mine published in Italy Magazine this week which illustrate this fact:

Any time, any place, anywhere

Italy’s Supreme Court, the Cassazione, has decided that motorists who need to “fare pipi” should no longer exercise their willpower until they reach a service station or a bar but may relieve themselves anywhere, even in public view. An uncomfortable motorist in need of a toilet, ruled the Judges, is a potentially dangerous motorist.

The ruling follows a 2006 case in which a desperate motorist left his car on the hard shoulder of a motorway in order to find somewhere where he might decently do the deed. The driver of the car behind him crashed into the stationary vehicle and was killed. A Rome court last year found the first driver not guilty of murder but the widow of the dead motorist subsequently sued for damages.

Motorists all over Italy are not, however, celebrating in the streets with cries of, “What a relief!” They are, instead, asking themselves why such a case had to be taken to the Cassazione when all that is needed is the common sense to use motorway facilities before the need becomes urgent.

Do you think this was a matter for the Supreme Court?
Do you agree with the ruling?

Talk show hosts in despair

Italy’s many talk show hosts and TV anchormen are in despair following a decision by RAI to ban political talk shows until after the regional elections at the end of March. This is because Italy has an equal media access rule for all legal political parties, guaranteeing them equal air time. In the past, some shows have not respected the time rule.

Last week, RAI chiefs received a directive from their legal office giving them the choice of: suspending shows with political content during the run-up to the elections and replacing them by party political broadcasts on a rotation basis; screening the shows but structuring them like party political broadcasts, making sure that all entitled parties are represented for exactly the same amount of time; or screening the shows, “provided no politicians are involved or, if they are, that they do not talk about political matters.”

RAI, presumably scratching its collective head over how they could broadcast a political show with no politics, yesterday opted to suspend the shows. The ban will now be extended to Italy’s privately owned TV channels.

Do you agree with RAI’s decision?


Anonymous said...

My experiences of Italian drivers suggest they will be "fare pipi"-ing out of the window while travelling at speed with one hand on the horn. Enlighten me. Are there ANY rules of the Italian road?

jams o donnell said...

One thing that strikes me here. Perhaps I have misunderstood but if he is rear ended on a hard shoulder then what was the other car doing driving on the hard shoulder in the first polace?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Andrew. Well, yes, there are, but Italians think rules are there to be broken! Hi, jams. I don't drive so I haven't a clue.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I suppose it had to go the Supreme Court if it were appealed all the way up (disclaimer: I am fairly ignorant of the Italian justice system!).

I agree with the ruling - someone driving while "tying a knot in it" is not concentrating. I speak from experience!

If only the British authorities could be as sensible; I'm sure anyone stopping on the hard shoulder of our motorways for this reason would just get a fixed-penalty notice and points on their licence, without the option.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Weekend Yachtsman. I think you are right about the Supreme Court and about what would happen in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Jams, the other car driver was presumably Italian... ergo.. he was driving on the hard shoulder because he is not allowed to drive on the hard shoulder. They should pass a law making it compulsory to toot the horn every few seconds... suddenly, silence would reign in the streets of Roma, Milano... Italia...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You might have something there, Andrew!


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