My risotto Milanese was molto buono, or so I was told. The saffron used was grown locally, brought over by a kind neighbor, so how could it possibly go wrong. And I did have Italian women inspecting and stirring right alongside.
Once we'd sat down to eat, a 70 year old Italian businessman wearily tried to educate me on Italian contracts, growing wearier the longer it took to explain. And he tried. It's why he does business elsewhere. The issue being it's is so arbitrary, it's why it's practically impossible for anyone to do business, even the insiders. And I can assure you from what I've heard, and I've heard an earful, it's getting worse. It's why the brightest and the Bocconi grads (Italy's Harvard) leave. But they always come back. They always come back.
Still, Italy remains a country full of family owned businesses, self-employed people and tourism experts, it's how it survives, it's why it remains the second largest exporter in Europe; it's part of the mystery of Italy.
I listen to housewives missing the lira and deflation has been a problem, I listen to northern Italians complain about the south. It's not unlike Germany's complaint, they'd love the other member states to follow their economic model. Yet they all know and they all agree the EU is more powerful united rather than divided.
As I've said repeatedly, diversity isn't necessarily a bad thing and it could be a very good thing for the EU. Time to stand alone and be strong.