Ten of Italy's 'stranger than fiction' 2015 stories

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2015 yielded some fantastically strange news stories from Italy. Photo: Spyros Papaspyrupoulos/Flickr
09:16 CET+01:00
It's been a jam-packed year of news in Italy with plenty of incredible offbeat stories making headlines at The Local. Here's 10 of the strangest news stories from 2015...

'Dead' Spanish doctor found in Italy forest

Photo: Patrice Wangern /Flickr

When two Italian mushroom pickers wandered off a forest trail deep in the wooded slopes of Tuscany, they were looking for some seasonal and delicious porcini. But what they found was a Spanish doctor named Carlos, who had disappeared from his home in Spain in 1996 and had legally been declared dead five years ago.

Cavemen lovers found up Italian mountain

hoto: Johann Jaritz/Wikipedia

Carlos wasn't the only strange person found living among nature in Italy this year. On a mountain above a small town in northeast Italy, a team of forestry workers were shocked to find a pair of young lovers living like hermits, sleeping together in a cove on bed of sticks. Convincing them to descend was not easy...

Italy nature reserve haunted by 'veggie' panther

Photo: Xcaret Panther/Flickr

Back in late August, a nature reserve in Lombardy was closed after reported sightings of a panther sparked fears that the gigantic feline was on the loose in Italy. However, after a costly panther hunt was launched, experts repeatedly failed to snare the beast, leading many to believe that a strange form of collective psychosis had broken out among locals.

Lovesick dog walks 10k to see Naples sweetheart

Photo: Scott Beale

It wasn't just about cat's either – near Naples one lovesick dachshund puppy absconded from his home and walked some 10km to be reunited with his sweetheart – another dachshund he had met on his summer holiday.

Italian town bans dogs barking during naptime

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

While residents up in Lombardy locked themselves indoors over fears about a non-existent panther, down in the town of Controne, Campania, one mayor passed a law forbidding dogs from barking at lunchtime so as not to disturb the peace of the town during the hours of the riposo, or afternoon nap.

Italian town warns people to stop dying

Photo: Comune di Sellia

Of course, there was more than one mayor passing strange decrees in 2015. In August, the mayor of Sellia, Davide Zicchinella, became so worried about the town's dwindling and ageing population that he decided to make it illegal for residents to get sick and pop their clogs.

Italy's top court says it's OK to watch porn at lunch

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

In a landmark ruling Italy's highest court overturned the dismissal of a Fiat employee who had lost his job after being caught watching a pornographic DVD during his lunch break. The court ruled that the employee was free to use his lunch break as he pleased.

Cleaners bin 'rubbish' modern art

hoto: Luke Stearns/Flickr

Sometimes art is just too life-like. In September, cleaning staff at Museion art gallery in Bolzano swept up an art installation composed of dirty bottles, paper streamers and cigarette butts, believing it to be the remnants of a party that had been held the night before. It transpired that the "junk" was actually an important work of art by Milan-based artists, Goldschmeid & Chiari.

Neighbour's laundry mistaken for Isis flag 

Photo: Il Resto del Carlino

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After Isis made threats against Italy earlier this year, the atmosphere was tense. One panicked resident in the coastal town of Porto Recanti even called the police to report that someone had hung an Isis flag from a tree near their apartment. But the flag was nothing more than a neighbour's laundry that had blown into the tree and got stuck.

Fake Italian restaurant tops Trip Advisor

Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

Back in June, an Italian restaurant in Moniga del Garda was declared by TripAdvisor as being the best in the town and one of the best in Italy. However, the restaurant was a hoax cooked up by an Italian newspaper to show how easy it is to manipulate opinion online.

Rome mafia boss gets over-the-top sendoff

creengrab: La Presse.

When mafia boss Vittorio Casamonica died in August, nobody expected the mafioso would be given such a lavish and public sendoff.

The boss was transported to his funeral in central Rome by a horse-drawn carriage, as mourners held banners aloft declaring him the 'king of Rome' while blasting the Godfather theme tune, 'Speak Softly, Love'.

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