ITALY: The Marquis & the Smell

It was a warm spring night, a lovely night for a stroll. As the Marquis sauntered serenely down the quiet street, two alert carabinieri passed. They sniffed. The rare and mouth-watering fragrance of the Marquis' cigaret was unmistakably American. The carabinieri exchanged an eloquent look, and strode after the Marquis. It is a black-market offense for an Italian in Rome to possess American or British cigarets. Sure enough, the carabinieri found two packs of Chesterfields in the Marquis' pockets. Into the pokey he went, for the night.

Next day a magistrate fined him 2,000 lire ($20). Since that was more than...

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