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Eight weird and wonderful Italian Christmas news stories

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Eight weird and wonderful Italian Christmas news stories
Rome's 'ugly' Christmas tree made global headlines this year. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
14:15 CET+01:00
Christmas is a time for family, food, age-old tradition... and bizarre news stories. Here are eight surreal things that have happened in Italy at Christmas.

1. The illegal dildo Christmas tree

Milan's 'dildo' Christmas tree sparks uproar
Photo: Luca Matarazza/MySecretCase

A Christmas tree on one of Milan's busiest streets caused more than a few passers-by to do a double take, due to some unusual decorations. Covered in vibrators and other sex toys - which those walking past were invited to "see and touch" - the tree had been put up to advertize the launch of a new website specializing in sex toys for women. Dubbed 'the tree of sin' by some locals, it didn't take long before the local council ordered it be taken down.

2. The councillor who quit over a 'penis' tree

This tree wasn't actually intended to be sexual - it was a modern art version, made of grey steel and glass - but one councillor was so furious at what he described as "an ugly and immoral penis that disfigures the city" that he handed in his resignation.

3. The priest who killed Santa

Parents furious after priest says Santa isn't real

Photo: Niklas Hallen/AFP

When a priest broke the news that Santa wasn't real to a group of Sunday school children, parents decided they weren't going to take the news lying down. Instead, they dressed as elves and called for the priest to retract the statement.

4. The Italians who celebrated with storytelling... naked

Italian women get festive with nude storytelling
Picture: Naked Girls Reading Rome

Festive recitals of Christmassy tales are often held around the holidays in Italy. But this event was a bit different from the rest, as the reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol was performed by three nude Italian women.

5. The cash-stuffed Christmas cake

This one didn't actually take place at Christmas time... which was exactly what made police suspicious. When a panettone, a traditional Italian Christmas cake, was spotted in an Italian businessman's car boot at Easter time, they smelt a rat and soon discovered €250,000 cash had been hidden inside it as part of a money laundering scheme.

6. The young pianist who achieved festive fame

How a missed train led to fame for an Italian pianist
Screengrab/YouTube

Train delays and transport troubles are an unfortunate part of the holiday season in Italy, but for Emanuele Fasano a missed train turned out to be a great opportunity. To kill time as he waited for the next train, he played a piano in Milan's central station, and a recording of his performance quickly went viral - something he described as "the perfect Christmas gift".

7. Skydiving Santa

Santa may usually travel by sleigh, but this year he arrived a few days early in Italy... by parachute. The skydiving Santa handed out gifts and sweets to local children in Amatrice, central Italy; a town which was hit by a deadly earthquake earlier this year.

8. When Naples got Grinch-proof Christmas trees

After the six-metre-tall tree was stolen from Naples' city centre one year, residents hatched a plan to protect their trees from local Scrooges. Along with the usual angel and baubles, the trees were covered with chains and padlocks to stop thieves getting their hands on them.

 

 

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