They litter the train stations and busy streets of Italian cities.
Some are in mint condition; others are crumpled and annotated. They often mix the sacred and profane in odd ways.
They may contain the vaguely classical image of a female saint and an odd title, often in dubious Italian or French. And whether they come from cigarette packs or from the wrappings of certain soaps, they ALWAYS carry numbers . . . numbers that may or may not be the keys to riches in the numerous Italian lotteries.