Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Problem?

In the luxurious Hassler Hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps, Rome's fabled dolce vita is still going strong.

"There is an aesthetic of beauty and balance here that is not subject to the fluctuations around us," said owner Roberto Wirth, referring to the financial crisis now imperilling economies around the world.

Down the steps and along the prosperous Via del Babuino, art and antiques dealer Romolo Brandimarte proudly pointed to a Roman sarcophagus on display worth more than half a million euros. "Our customers, who are often industrialists, haven't gone away," he said.

A little further down, at the Hotel De Russie, where limos were lined up to take stars such as Richard Gere off to the red carpet at the Rome film festival, it was the same story. "We are an oasis; we are not suffering," a spokeswoman stressed, adding that the €11,000 a night rooftop suite is always fully booked.


Marching into the nearby Piazza del Popolo for a rally, waving flags and clutching sandwiches wrapped in foil, [Italy’s] pensioners were furious at Silvio Berlusconi plan to whittle away at pension rights to help reduce Italy's staggering €1.8tn debt and please the markets, which have seized on Italy as the next weak link in Europe after Greece.


Increasing the pension age from 65 to 67 was one of the measures offered last week by Berlusconi to placate European leaders worried that Italy is not doing enough to help save the eurozone.

  UK Guardian

Well, you know, everybody has to pitch in.

And speaking of Greece...

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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