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An Italian man tried to pay his ex-wife’s alimony with pizza—and a judge said it’s fine

Various pizzas made in an Italian restaurant in Pyongyang are displayed in this picture released by North Korea's official KCNA news agency on April 28, 2009. KCNA said this picture was taken on April 28, 2009. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA MILITARY FOOD SOCIETY POLITICS) QUALITY FROM SOURCE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS - RTXEHP5
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Divorce has been legal in Italy only since the 1970s, and its legislation is, paradoxically, amongst the most favorable to women in Europe. Italian divorce law assumes a divorced woman is unable to provide for herself, and can require an ex-husband to pay alimony that’s at times beyond his means.

This is allegedly what led Nicola Toso (the man’s full name is undisclosed), a 50-year-old father of one from Villafranca Padovana, Padua, to find an alternative way to pay his ex-wife an alimony of €300 (about $335) a month. The man, whose pizza restaurant business wasn’t thriving, offered to pay her in pizzas (link in Italian) between 2008 and 2010.

Nicoletta Zuin, whom he had divorced in 2002, refused his offer, taking the man to court for missing alimony payments. But judge Chiara Bitozzi ruled in favor of the man. Since he wasn’t at the time making enough money from his business, Chiara determined that he couldn’t have paid any other way, and considered valid the offer of foodstuff (or “alimenti” in Italian, and befittingly the same word used for “alimony.”)

The case was settled in 2011—but only reported on May 27, when local journalist Lino Lava stumbled upon the court files. It is unclear for how long the man—who since closed his pizza restaurant—continued to pay his wife in pizza, or otherwise.

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