I’m lucky living in the Lunigiana. Restaurant prices are quite moderate. But all over Europe I’m hearing people talk of the steep rise in restaurant prices—but none more than in Italy.
The Euro is blamed. At first Italians blamed the rounding up of prices from the Lira to the Euro. This hurt on small things, like coffee. But now the blame is being placed upon the Euro itself, not only is a country like Italy not able to juggle the value of the currency against other currencies to match the economic realities like it did with the Lira, but State-owned utilities can raise prices at will without wages going up, and prices are passed down to the merchant and eventually to the consumer. It’s been estimated that restaurant prices in Italy have skyrocketed to double what they were before the Euro. (Edit: Deirdré Straughan has another observation on The High Cost of Dining.)
But it seems to me that Italians will always find a path to pleasure. That’s what makes Italy such an attractive country. It’s not the castles or the Roman ruins or fantasy cities slinking into the lagoon, but rather the spirit of people who will find a way to live well under (almost) any conditions: The anti-Puritan instinct.
Enter the Secret Trattoria. Yes, you black out a few windows, put up no signs, and run an invitation only, byob, tax free food service for people who remember the good foods and good times of a prior era, at least according to Barbara McMahon’s Just because money is tight doesn’t mean you can’t have the good life.
Link via A wandering hedgehog.