The Italian Almanac

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Not in My Bed

Wives who entertain lovers in the marital bed can forget about any assets they once shared with their husbands, Italy's highest appeals court said. The Cassation Court thus put the final word to a case dating back to 1975, when the wife, then 36, left her 40-something husband after a long relationship with her lover, then 23.

The Sicilian plaintiff, Aldo, was enraged when he found out Silvana had been using his house for her trysts. But in October 1990 a Messina court denied Aldo's first plea that, because she had allegedly ''tainted'' his home, she shouldn't get anything out of the separation. This verdict was overturned, however, by an appeals court in the Sicilian city in 2005.

Upholding that sentence, the Cassation Court said Silvana had committed ''a grievous injury which seriously damaged Aldo's moral patrimony''. For this ''deceitful and disrespectful attitude'', the judges said, Silvana could forget about the assets they had held in common.