A few years ago the credit crunch – or crisi in Italian–was hitting hard. Italians hardly need an excuse for finding a bargain at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that the introduction of a milk vending machine in this town went down a storm. This natural goodness is supplied direct from a local farmer, undercutting milk giants like Parmalat by over a third. The farm is less than 5km away and so the milk, delivered daily, doesn’t come much fresher. Similar machines, which supply fresh, unpasturised milk, are being installed across the country. With no middle man, for once both supplier and consumer are winning out.
A crowd of over 500 descended for the long-anticipated inauguration of the machine, euro in hand and empty bottles at the ready. Patiently everyone waited as our local priest gave his blessing. But, formalities aside, there followed a stampede and chaos ensued. Fortunately the local carabinieri were on hand to keep order. Or perhaps, like everyone else, they were just there to get the milk for their cappuccino too!