Not unfortunately the cry of a newspaper editor with a scoop but the oil presses in the Salento area south of Lecce.
It is one of the ideas that has come from yet another conference to discuss the Xylelle outbreak in the region. Stop people carrying olives around by closing the presses this year because as I do know personally when you take your olives to the press you carry in the boxes plenty of insects who are all capable of carrying the disease. You can wait up to 4 hours for your turn and you park alongside other trucks in the yard. Out hop your bugs and onto someone else’s truck and the rest is history.
Quite how olive growers will handle such a decree is not known at the moment but the concern raised is that smaller growers will, if the decree is not really well enforced, find ways of getting the guys to open the presses . Bribery, shock horror drama, is not unknown down here and of course family ties are much stronger here than any law from Rome or Bari.
The disease now covers most of Salento from Lecce to Lueca on the tip of Italy and 50,000 acres are affected. The conference that started yesterday is also considering an insecticide wall 2 kms deep and 45 kms long just north of Lecce where continuos spraying will keep bugs from moving north. Almost every delegate and speaker has been contemptuous of the Regional Government who have and continue to spend time talking. “Action not words” is the call from the growers and all the Italian wide departments involved in containment ” olive growing in Europe is a risk”. The Regional Government is still considering proposals put forth months and months ago . Quite what our passionately “Green” Governor will make of an insecticide wall I have no idea. Mind you I don’t give much for his equally passionate quest towards Rome and the Premiership if he goes down as the man that cost Italy it’s olive business. Probably always a politician first I would imagine.
Rome on the other hand is in the grip of yet another ice cream problem. Last year near the Spanish Steps some British tourists were charged €63 for four ice creams and now some American tourists have been as they see it ripped off near the Trevi Fountain where they were charged €42 for two at a small cafe nearby.
“We’d just paid €59 for our entire dinner, including a litre of wine, and then were charged €42 for gelato!” James the tourist said.
“We’ve been careful in watching out for pickpockets in Rome, but I never thought I would get scammed here,” he went on which in fact is rather clever isn’t it?
In fact the the cafe has the ice creams for that price in their “tourist” menu and so the indignant manager of the bar said they had got off lightly as the waiter had forgotten to add the €2.50 a head cover charge to the bill !!
The cafe has quite a notoriety on Tripadvisor where 25 of the 28 comments say avoid it like the plague.
The manager also said that if they wanted it cheaper they could have had them to go but then pointed out that had they then started eating them in the proximity of the Trevi Fountain they would have been liable for a €500-€25,000 fine from the police.
Nice chap by the sounds of it. Clearly a man destined for great things in the Italian tourist industry.