Taxing your tattoo?

Italy is obsessed with aesthetics. Every shop window, no matter how small, is beautifully arranged. Cities and villages aren’t cluttered with utility poles because everything is underground. Italians dress with studied personal style. The county lauds architecture both classic and modern. And every producer of cheese, salami, olive oil and wine will tell you that only the freshest, purest and best ingredients go into their product. Italians prize beauty and quality. Despite this, their country is covered in graffiti. Ask an Italian how it got there. He’ll most likely say it’s the product of foreigners.

Photo: n petralia

Photo: n petralia

So now the country has decided to extend that pursuit of beauty to the bodies of their population. In the process Italy has figured out yet another way to tax its citizens. In a posting, the Giornale del Corriere explained the new tax on tattoos and piercings. What a terrific way to finally get some money out of all the young people who are unemployed!

photo: Giornale del Corriere

photo: Giornale del Corriere

The Health Aesthetics tax is due by June 30th. Tattoos are to be taxed at 1.58 Euros ($2.19) for each square centimeter of covered skin with an additional 19.85 Euros ($27.48) for any design that is violent, sexual or racist. Piercings will cost 6.42 Euros ($8.89).

So what happens if decorated Italians respond as they do to most government taxes and ignore their responsibility? If payments aren’t made, inspections will be made on beaches by the State Bathers Control, and in random stops along highways by Citizens Sanitary Inspectors. And we though Stop and Frisk was invasive!

Something tells me these two are in for an exam.

Photo: n petralia

Photo: n petralia

Ok, ok. It’s all a joke. The Giornale del Corriere is a satirical site, and this is the equivalent of a story Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. But to be honest, I bought it at first.

Review: The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr

Aside

Nancy says:

We saw this painting while in Italy and I was fascinated with the premise of The Lost Painting. The story, which follows a young art researcher, a painting restorer and an international art expert, reveals the mysteries of the art world as well as the mystery of how “The Taking of Christ” was lost and found. When we lived in Italy I was constantly struck by all the tiny slips of paper the Italians keep–the record of every single transaction. Now I understand how valuable they can be.

I loved Jonathan Harr’s A Civil Action and was anxious to see how he handled this new topic. While the story isn’t quite as compelling (nobody’s going to die) I learned so much about the process of discovery, preservation and the politics of the art world that I found this latest book fascinating.

If you enjoy seeing great art, or just an interesting real-life mystery, you’ll like this book.