The Italian Job

20 Jun


Italians only work for nine months of the year. Discuss.

I often have to endure relentless whining and moaning from the Italian about how cold and wet it is in England and how hot and dry it is in Italy.

My response every time is “go back to Italy if you don’t like it here!”.

Obviously we have spoken about a potential, permanent move to il bel Paese (The Beautiful Country) as Italians like to call their homeland. However, there are no jobs. This whole business about the state of Italy’s economy and it’s involvement in the collapse of the euro zone only proves that jobs are scarce and general living, as in most European countries, is hard and expensive.

Yet, when I read an article in The Telegraph recently, my head spun and I suddenly pictured myself with my little famiglia, on the beach, for three months of the year. How so you may ponder?

Well, according to a junior economy minster, Gianfranco Polillo, the average Italian only works for nine months of the year while pretty much the whole of Italy religiously takes off the month of August. This is as well as, for the luckier and richer Italians, “Una Settimana Bianca” (White Week) when they down tools to go skiing. Meanwhile, we Brits have to make do with a few measly rainy grey bank holidays! Where’s the justice?

I must mention though that this study was carried out amongst factory workers only. Not that I’m knocking it because these days a job is a job no matter where you live but if I worked in a factory I would want three months off too! Not least, if I worked in a factory and lived in a country full of gorgeous golden beaches, bright blue sea, amazing food and constant summer sunshine without a hint of grey, I would absolutely want three months off! Why the heck not.

While the economic climate, like most of us, has forced Italians to spend less and not travel abroad, the incentive to work more just isn’t there. Polillo claims that the nation has “become accustomed to leisure” and suggests that if the nation gives up just one week of holiday per year, GDP could be boosted by one percent.

I can see the factory workers all rushing to hand over their sun loungers now!

In the region of Friuli Giuliani Venezia, where the Italian is from, factories are plentiful. Yes its near Venice, yes there are vineyards and mountains and all things pretty but there is another side. Rows and rows of industrial , streets show casing its factory made wares. There is Electrolux that makes AEG, Zanussi and Indesit fridges, washing machines and tumble driers. There is Ideal Standard that make toilet systens and basins and there is Jacuzzi that make, well, jacuzzi’s.

Could you stand making washing machines or toilet parts for nine months of the year if it meant you could relax and sunbathe for the other three months? I’m actually not that sure that I could. Would I be totally brain-dead from boredom? Having worked at Electrolux himself in his younger days, the Italian tells me that the factory jobs are quite well paid and he isn’t surprised that people can afford to take so much time off but I just don’t see us assembling the latest 8kg machine drum for a living.

Perhaps I have to wait for Signore Polillo to carry out a study on more professional jobs that will allow me three months on the beach and a week of skiing! Then, and only then, will the Italian consider moving to Il Bel Paese.


Credit: www.

1 Comment

Posted by on June 20, 2012 in London


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One response to “The Italian Job

  1. Tracie p

    June 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Efficiency is NOT a virtue of the Italian people!


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