‘Coffee and chat’ is the king of Italian socialising

Italians can seem to do without Facebook and Twitter, but there’s one thing they won't abandon, no matter how severe their economic woes: chatting over coffee and aperitivo in Italy's many bars.

'Coffee and chat' is the king of Italian socialising
Photo: ColinGordon/Flickr

Italians spend an average €1,200 a year on breakfast out and an early evening drink – 32 percent more than the French and 53 percent more than the Germans, according to a report released on Tuesday by Fipe, the restaurant and bar owners association.

This is because they enjoy the conviviality of Italy’s bar scene, especially in the morning, and see it as one of the last bastions of human interaction that cannot be overshadowed by the internet, La Stampa reported.

As they socialise over breakfast, Italians drink €1.5 billion worth of coffee a year and eat €3.9 billion worth of pastries.

That said, the bar stalwarts, aged between 25 and 44, are a health-conscious bunch and also opt for fresh juices, according to the report.

“Despite the difficult times, this sector is still showing great vitality,” said Lino Stoppani, the president of Fipe.

The average price of a cup of coffee in Italy is €0.94 and €1.26 for a cappuccino. The region of Lombardy has the highest concentration of bars, followed by Veneto, Lazio and Campania. 

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?