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Italy: When the Kissing Had to Stop

2 minute read

On a sunny summer day back in 1936. handsome Francesco Ghizzoni stood placidly waiting for customers behind his refreshment stand near the shores of the Po River. Suddenly, as a curvy blonde entered the water for a dip, Francesco, 25, was swept away by love. Her name was Angela Mondini; she was only 16, and, like Francesco, she came from Cremona. Almost immediately, Francesco proposed marriage. Coldly, Angela refused. “He’s not my type.” she told friends. “She’s playing hard to get,” Francesco replied.

Day and night, year after year, he pursued his inamorata on the street, into movie theaters, beneath her windows.

Once, Angela hurled stones at her persistent lover. “She’s mad about me. I know it,” said Francesco. Twice he received suspended sentences on public-nuisance and molestation counts, but the threat of imprisonment only increased his love.

Two years ago, Francesco grabbed Angela around the waist and kissed her. She screamed, swooned. Next day she filed charges of physical and moral assault.

Last month, when the case was finally heard, Francesco met the charges with a bouquet of flowers for Angela, which she icily rejected. The judges threw out his lawyer’s plea of insanity, instead threw the book at Francesco: two years and three months for the kiss, seven months for unceasing molestation, and three months of a previously unserved sentence.

Now 41 and still a spinster, Angela hoped that Francesco’s imprisonment would finally clear the field for other suitors. But last week, after filing an appeal that the Italian courts may not hear for another two years. Francesco, 50, was back in stubborn pursuit. Vowed the aging Romeo : “I love Angela and will never give her up.” Cried the miscast Juliet: “He has frightened off all other suitors. That man has ruined my life.”

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