Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Everyone rides Trenitalia.

Tim Parks commutes from Verona to Milan, not a strange thing in Italy:
First and foremost, train tickets must be cheap, or seen to be so. People's desire to live in one city while working in another requires this. It is the structure of Italian nationhood. Which leaves little room for the market. A student has to be able to afford to travel home every weekend. The friends you make at primary school are your friends for life, you can't be without them. And who will do your laundry if not your dear mother? There are very few laundromats in Italy. So to travel from Verona to Milan -- 148 kilometers my ticket tells me -- costs only 6.82 euros, peak or off-peak, weekend or weekday. About £4.50. It's a joke. And there are big reductions for students, for conscript soldiers, pensioners and a variety of other groups, needy and not. Priests and nuns travel free.
Tim Parks, "Trenitalia," 94 Granta 161, 164-65 (Summer, 2006).

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