Topic: Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy
In a second-floor apartment in the southern Italian town of Santeramo in Colle, a middle-aged woman sat in a black-padded chair this summer, hard at work at her kitchen table. She carefully stitched a sophisticated woolen coat, the sort of style that will sell for 800 to 2,000 euros ($935 to $2,340) when it arrives in stores this month as part of the fall and winter collection of MaxMara, the Italian luxury fashion brand.
But the woman, who asked not to be named for fear that she could lose her livelihood, receives just 1 euro from the factory that employs her for each meter of fabric she completes.
“It takes me about one hour to sew one meter, so about four to five hours to complete an entire coat,” said the woman, who works without a contract, or insurance, and is paid in cash on a monthly basis. “I try to do two coats per day.”
The unregulated work she completes in her apartment is outsourced to her from a local factory that also manufactures outerwear for some of the best-known names in the luxury business, including Louis Vuitton and Fendi. The most she has ever earned, she said, was 24 euros ($28) for an entire coat.
Homework — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory — is a cornerstone of the fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, where millions of low-paid and predominantly female homeworkers are some of the most unprotected in the industry, because of their irregular employment status, isolation and lack of legal recourse.
家庭代工─ 在家中或小型工作室而非工廠工作─已成為快速時尚供應鏈的基石。在印度、孟加拉、越南和中國這些國家，家庭代工尤其普遍，數以百萬計，且主要是女性的家庭代工從業人員 ，因就業狀況不穩定，孤立和欠缺法律追索權，屬於該行業中最缺乏保護的一群。
That similar conditions exist in Italy, however, and facilitate the production of some of the most expensive wardrobe items money can buy, may shock those who see the “Made in Italy” label as a byword for sophisticated craftsmanship.
Increased pressure from globalization and growing competition at all levels of the market mean that the assumption implicit in the luxury promise — that part of the value of such a good is that it is made in the best conditions, by highly skilled workers, who are paid fairly — is at times put under threat.
Although they are not exposed to what most people would consider sweatshop conditions, the homeworkers are allotted what might seem close to sweatshop wages. Italy does not have a national minimum wage, but roughly 5 to 7 euros per hour is considered an appropriate standard by many unions and consulting firms. In extremely rare cases, a highly skilled worker can earn as much as 8 to 10 euros an hour. But the homeworkers earn significantly less, regardless of whether they are involved in leatherwork, embroidery or another artisanal task.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/332436/web/
Topic: White truffles fetch 75,000 euros at Italian auction 義大利拍賣會 白松露七萬五千歐元高價拍出
Alba, a small town in the northwestern region of Piemonte, is known as Italy’s white truffle capital.
It has hosted Italy’s most famous white truffle market, during which the auction is held, for close to 90 years.
Every year at this time it hosts the famous International Alba White Truffle Fair, which attracts around 100,000 visitors from all over the world who come to buy, sell and smell the tasty tuber.
Dry weather and changing climate patterns have hit production and sent prices soaring. Over the past 25 years, there has been a 30 percent decrease in truffle production. In some places, they are disappearing altogether.
Truffle hunter Marilena Tarable says with this week’s much needed rain the truffles have started growing a little bigger and a bit rounder because the earth has softened.
“But up until now, with the very hard earth, it’s really hard to extract them,” she says.
A highlight of the fair is the truffle auction, now in its eighteenth year, with proceeds going to charitable causes. This Sunday it took place in Grinzane Cavour Castle with live satellite links to Hong Kong and Dubai. The winning bidder for the biggest truffle at this year’s auction, from Hong Kong, paid 75,000 euros for a well-rounded truffle weighing 850 grams.
Isabelle Gianicolo of the National Truffle Study Centre noted that the auction price was “symbolic” and did not necessarily reflect the true market price, since the proceeds were donated to charitable causes.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2017/11/18/2003682450
Fresh pizza vending machine prompts curiosity and horror in Rome
Raffaele Esposito, the 19th century Neapolitan credited with inventing Italy’s most famous type of pizza, may be turning in his grave：Rome has a new vending machine which slides out freshly cooked pizzas in just three minutes.
Buyers using the flaming red "Mr. Go Pizza" machine can choose from four different kinds of pizzas costing from 4.50 to 6 euros. The machine kneads and tops the dough and customers can watch the pizza cook behind a small glass window.
"It looks good but it is much smaller than in a restaurant and there is less topping," said Claudio Zampiga, a pensioner.
Gina, a pensioner who declined to give her surname, rejected the concept outright. "Terrible. Pizza really needs to be eaten hot, immediately. This doesn’t work for me," she said.
Topic: Italy says arrivederci to cafe culture 義大利向咖啡文化說再見
Like pizza and ice cream parlours, the coffee bar is sacred in Italy. But the tradition of going for a cappuccino or an espresso is under threat from a new menace - the coffee machine. Thanks to aggressive marketing by manufacturers, who are practically giving them away free in offices, factories, universities and even train stations, self-service coffee is invading Italy and putting in peril the livelihood of many baristas.
就像披薩和冰淇淋店一樣，咖啡吧在義大利具有神聖不可侵犯的地位。但義大利人到咖啡吧喝杯卡布奇諾或濃縮咖啡的傳統現在受到新對手的威脅 - 咖啡機。在咖啡機製造商祭出強勢促銷手段，在辦公室、工廠、大學、甚至火車站裡幾乎免費奉送咖啡之後，自助式咖啡正大舉入侵義大利，許多咖啡師傅的生計也岌岌可危。
New figures show half a million automatic coffee machines have been installed in the past year in public places, serving an estimated two million 'portions' of coffee.
One of the reasons for the change is that Italians are struggling to deal with a faster pace of life, under pressure to do more, earn more and not waste time.
The depersonalisation of the coffee rite is sneaking into Italian homes as well. Sales of automatic machines were recently declared in a brides' magazine to be the most sought-after gift of young couples.
這種去除人性色彩的喝咖啡儀式也正偷偷潛入義大利的家庭中。一本新娘雜誌最近就宣稱，自動咖啡機是年輕新人最想要的結婚禮物。Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1453710; https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/world/paper/39829