The planned changes come just four months after city hall hiked the “accomodation tax” to between €3 and €7 a night depending on the type of hotel, while those pitching a tent have had to pay €2 for the privilege since September 1st. I’m not sure where you can even pitch a tent in Rome.
The new €10 a night rate would apply to five-star hotels in the Italian capital, for a maximum of ten consecutive nights, a city hall spokesman said. The measure needs to be discussed and voted on before it can implemented. Tourist tax rates for lower-grade hotels will stay the same. You have to laugh when the rest of the article states that “Rome is reeling from revelations of widespread corruption at city hall, allegedly led by a one-eyed former terrorist whose mafia group for years siphoned off vital funds for services. You have to love the way the Italian government works. The best news is that is will unlikely happen and if it does it will not be implemented effectively. As it is the earlier raise to 3 euro a night disappeared into the city coffers and no one can tell where it went and certainly not whether it benefitted tourism in any way.
When I talked of catching my breath, I was referring to my return from my fall trip to Italy. I returned to LA just in time for Thanksgiving. Yes, it has taken me that long to get back to a normal schedule. I arrived just in time to unpack all my goodies and begin packing gift basket orders before breaking briefly for Thanksgiving dinner (which I did not cook this year). Then, back to work, for days doing the complicated calculations of converting weights, euros and ingredients from Italian to English. While a dear friend had a end of season event for Cabi clothes at my home we did a bit of an Expressly Italian tasting of the new products. Then it was back to basket construction right up to Christmas week. I did manage to factor in a little Christmas shopping before Christmas. But, the baskets were delivered and received with great enthusiasm. Every basket was unique and tailored to the receiver as much as possible, from the basket for the man who does not cook at all, to the cook who is so experienced she is impossible to impress. Everyone seemed to be excited to try all their surprises. And, it made me realize that baskets should not be just for Christmas, but are just as exciting to receive for Easter, or birthdays or anniversaries or any time gifts. Keep that in mind.
It’s been pretty breakneck speed since Christmas as well. Our family Christmas was after Christmas in Petaluma with about 75 of us, yes, 75. Then back to work organizing the products and meeting my invaluable friend Carole who was nice enough to show up at LAX with the two suitcases of goods that were waaaaay over my maximum limit to return with when I came back in November. So, fully loaded, I have been working on the latest newsletter / price list ever since, with only short breaks for a couple of birthdays.
The newsletter just went out. Lots of Mauro Berardi’s World Famous Spices from Campo dei Fiori mixes are available. It always impresses me how far Mauro has reached with his spices. I’ve had contacts from all over the world looking to replace the spices bought from him in Rome. It is a great to know that I can bring them to people who can not make it back to Italy to get them in person. Mauro may sell spices to visitors from all over the world but he refuses to even use email. And, he has enough difficulty shipping within Italy and will never attempt to ship outside the country. I get contacted from people from Austria to Australia looking for His spice mixes. Often while the costs for shipping (and customs restrictions) make it impossible, I am able to work with ever Increasing numbers of people who revere his mixes. It is lucky for all the US and Canadian customers for sure.
I’m excited to get the honey, spices, and condiments that I have on hand sold so I can make another trip back in the spring. And, for the first time in a decade the exchange rate is not so bad. I just checked my exchange rate for transferring funds and it is currently $1.19 through the foreign exchange. which is fabulous. It’s most often been closer to $1.40. It’s exciting not to feel like you are paying a penalty for anything bought in Europe.
They put a banner at the Trevi fountain this week to commorate the passing of Anita Ekberg, the wonderful actress who waded into the Trevi Fountain in the movie “La Dolce Vita” this last week. Ironically, the fountain she waded in is currently without water. There is restoration work being done on the Trevi for the next year or so. It’s quite a shock to see that huge fountain drained and shrouded while they work on it. They have managed to make it interesting by putting a transparent walkway all the way at the back of the fountain allowing visitors to walk around the back of the fountain. Strange, but interesting. Oh, and they left a little opening at the very front so you can still toss a coin into a little water dish.