Thursday, 26 November 2009

I love Italians

There's a great piece in today's Telegraph reports on the plea by Italian government minister, Gianfranco Rotondi, who has called on Italians to eschew their traditional two-hour lunch break for the sake of the economy.

Long lunches brings the economy to a standstill and Mr Rotondi says it's time Italians looked to their waistlines and followed the example of those fun-loving Germans who apparently don't take lunch breaks... ever! Even we Brits get a pat on the back from Gianfranco who claims we only take breaks three days out of five.

The suggestion was laughed out of court by the whole nation and some nutritionists claimed that Italians typically have a very light breakfast – usually a cappuccino and a cornetto pastry. Without a hearty midday meal, Italians would faint for lack of sustenance. Pietro Migliaccio, a nutritionist went so far as to claim the country would have a "a blood sugar crisis in the afternoon, which would make it quite difficult to work".

Carlo Podda, of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, said: "What next? Should we abolish the boring ritual of sleep?"

Don't you just love the Italians?

You can read the full story here


  1. I have an Italian friend and she reckons they are more productive working the way they do from around 8 or 9-1 then 4-8. They don't work in the worst heat, they spend time with their family as the kids finish school at 1 and have better quality of life because of it.

  2. wouldn't doubt it, Jenny. I'm covinced I got ill through overwork - or long hours without a break.

  3. Here the Greeks apparently have Feta cheese, black olives and tomatoes all covered in olive oil, with crusty bread and a raki for breakfast.

    The builders work from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon as it is way too hot in the summer after 3... they have an hour break 11-30 in the mornings and eat crossaunts and frappe, they generally drink frappe continuously.

    The frappe cups are sold every where, including coffee granules at the bottom of a plastic cup, and sachets of sugar, add water and put the lid on and shake, cold coffee, normally 12 or more of these a day are consumed by one avarage person.

    Shop workers, banks, etc. All start work at 9 in the morning, they shut at 1 or 2 and reopen at 5 until 9 at night, they keep these odd hours as they all have a siesta.

    School children start school at 8 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon. They are poorly educated and most parents, if they can afford it , pay for private education.

    The obesity levels here are astounding. All the text books tell of how great the mediterranian diet is the best in the world, that is myth and lies as usual.

    Pastry is consumed in large quantities, crossaunts are big sellers here and the children eat them all the time. Gone are the healthy meals as more and more are buying frozen ready food, such as cheese in pastry products.

    There was a time when the Greeks hardly ate meat, they always has pulses and greens, snails and squid, that was their main diet.

    It seems to me ,that the Greeks are now eating what the westerners eat, and we are eating what they traditionally cooked years ago..!!


  4. Off-topic, but I just wanted to say that my husband cooked me your "Penne with bacon, spinach and cheese" last night and it was fantastic! Next on the menu is fish pie. Your blog is very informative!!

    Like a previous poster said, I can't provide any useful advice on learning to walk again, but I'm sending you healing vibes! Just don't rush it because the last thing any of us want is to hear that you're back in hospital again.

  5. Well I may be in a definite minority because of working in the theatre, but I'm in Germany and ALWAYS have the hours of 2-6 free! Mind you, there's not the temptation of Italian men to pass the time with...

  6. there is such a thing as quality of life, and we seem to have lost the balance between work and enjoying family life, mind you if i had a siesta in the afternoon, i would find it very hard to go back to work later in the day. take your physio gently. don't put unrealistic goals in your way of recovery, you'll get there

  7. I think the Italians are right to defend their practices. I have never lived in their kind of climate but I have never found it easy to eat first thing in the morning yet I'm desperate for food by lunch time. I think I would thrive on that long lunch break. I also think that I became ill because of work stress and working too hard. It's not an easy choice not to here - especially if you want to keep your job - but the damage to health can be irreparable.

    Hope the physio went well today.

  8. Hooray for the Italians who know too fend off such attacks on their lifestyle.

  9. My husband used to take just 15 mins sitting at his desk unlike the old days when he used to go out for long lunches at least twice a week. SInce moving to France it is so very different, 2 hours guaranteed every day and boy how different he is. We went out for lunch the other day to a small auberge in the pyrenees and it was full of workmen who were sitting down to a 5 course meal including wine all for 22 euro. Noone drinks to excess, the meal is eaten without overeating on any of the courses and then you go off to work again. We have also noticed we sleep better not having our main meal in the evening which we could never have done in the UK. We now eat our main meal at lunchtime with the kids and eat a light supper in the evening and it works well for everyone. THe other thing is that we eat as a family all the time and the kids are not having to rush off out to meet their friends as they know they too will be at the table with their families. It is such a shame that we have lost this in the UK apart from maybe Sunday lunchtime when families can travel to see a relative for lunch. I think for us this works better and I love the fact most places shut for at least 2 hours and sometimes 3, especially in the summer when it is too hot to do much until about 5 when it is cooler. Climate does dictate how you live in some ways but this madness of not being able to leave your desk and just grabbing a sandwich whilst you work, then eating a meal late at night just can't go on.

    Hope you are managing to take things a step at a time (literally). This time next year you will have little memory of all the heartache.
    Take care
    Lou x

  10. It would have made sense for us to adopt a more European lifestyle here in Aus too. I'd be happy to have a siesta in the afternoon.