Some of you may know that, while we weren't looking and as if the world doesn't have enough problems, a "Prosecco war" broke out this week, so I thought I'd tell you how this event is viewed from here:
First of all, it is a given in a country that is a firm member of the EU that free movement of people is part of the package. So when the British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said that Brexit Britain wants to retain access to the European Single Market without subscribing to free movement of people, Carlo Calenda, the Italian Economic Development Minister, was aghast.
Mr Calenda told Mr Johnson that without free movement of people there would be nothing left to negotiate, to which Mr Johnson reportedly replied that Italy would give in on this rather than lose sales of Prosecco to the UK. An understandably annoyed Mr Calenda retorted that Britain would lose fish and chips exports but that the difference was that, whilst Italy might lose a little export buiness with one country, the UK stood to lose a lot more with 27 countries.
Later Mr Calenda remarked that it was "a bit offensive" of the British to assume that Italy is totally reliant on Prosecco exports and also said that the British government appears to be in chaos regarding Brexit policy.
This morning the Foreign Office issued the following statement, which is being taken as an apology here:
"The comments of the Foreign Secretary reflect the strength of the trading relationship between our two countries. We hope that this will remain strong despite British exit from the EU."
A British government source apparently told the BBC that Mr Johnson had not intended his comments as an insult but as part of a "constructive discussion".
The verdict in Italy is that the British are clearly off their [Prosecco-filled] trolley and, according to La Repubblica, that Mr Johnson is "not cut out for diplomacy". Il Giornale, meanwhile, believes that the incident has pushed tragicomedy to its limits.
Prosecco, anyone? Cincin!