Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tax Evasion - a national pastime

Having lived in Italy for 16 years, I have never really had any dealings with the Guardia di Finanza - those scary plain-clothes officers who have huge powers of stop and search….. until last week - when I left a hotel, after checking in some guests and was stopped by an ID-flashing GDF plain-clothes, requesting to see a receipt for whatever I had purchased. Fortunately I did not even have a cup of coffee there. If I had done, I would have had to produce the receipt to prove that the seller had put it through the till and that I had paid for it!

Seems a lot of effort for a €1.30 cappucino.

 There must be more effective ways of tracking down tax-evasion - like the recent weekend blitz in Courmayeur when under-cover officers donned skis to check that the mountain top eateries were issuing receipts, while another 60 colleagues were checking up in the village below.

Mario Monti is taking tax evasion seriously. As well he might, given that the practice of not issuing receipts alone costs the Italian Treasury 120bn a year! Last year a similar crackdown by the Agenzia delle Entrate (Tax collections agency) recovered nearly 12bn.

Another raid in the ski resort of Cortina showed that many luxury car owners (251 to be precise) were declaring an annual income of less than €30,000 per annum.

Don’t let any of this discourage you from visiting this wonderful country. As a visitor all you need to do is to make sure that you get a receipt for everything that you buy and keep hold of that until you have left the shop and moved on, so that if you are stopped, you simply produce the receipt and off you go.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lunch in Laglio for only 11 euros!

All this for only 11 euro - today's menu:

Papardelli with spek and zola
Conchigle sugo nonna
Sedani pancetta e funghi
Risotto melanzane
Stinco vino bianco
Tacchino ai ferri
Insalata verde o mista
Patate al forno
Verdure ai ferri o burro

You can join the local tradesmen and craftsmen for a superb 2 course lunch including 1/4 litre of wine or 1/2 litre of water and coffee for only 11 euro per person. The food is freshly home cooked each day between 12 and 2pm. Go after 12.45 be sure of a table - at 12 o'clock it is jam-packed with workers.

The menu changes each day and usually consist of 3-4 pasta dishes for starters and a choice of 4 main courses, mainly meat and a choice of at least 4 accompaniments - salad, vegetables, potatoes etc. You do not go home hungry, that's for sure. How the workers keep their eyes open in the afternoon after all that food, I have no idea.

Now you will want to know where it is – it looks just like a roadside bar and is located on the main lake road, just at the junction of the lower and upper lake roads where you turn down to the Laglio lakeside.

The name….Bar Trattoria Saggitario – buon appetito!

Remember it is a workers lunch menu, so don't expect anything fancy - just good, wholesome, home-cooked food