Italy's bars and restaurants display 'monster' bills amid surge in gas prices

Italian business owners say they are forced to either up their prices or shut down.

Bars and restaurants in Italy are putting their "monster" gas and electricity bills on public display as part of efforts to highlight the "dramatic situation" faced by Italian businesses struggling amid a surge in energy prices.

The aim of the nationwide 'Bollette in Vetrina' initiative - organised by Fipe-Confcommercio, the Italian association of retail and catering businesses - is to let customers know the reality facing bar and restaurant owners grappling with bills that have tripled compared to a year ago.

The situation is forcing businesses to choose between price increases, "so far very modest, and the suspension of business pending a decisive intervention by the government", reads a statement on the Fipe website.

"This initiative aims to make transparent what is happening today to those who manage a bar or restaurant, also in an attempt to explain to customers why they are paying a little more for coffee, with the risk of further increases in the coming months" - explains Aldo Cursano, vice president of Fipe-Confcommercio - "With increases in energy costs of 300 per cent, we are working with a gun to our heads."

Cursano said that Fipe Confcommercio has asked the government to intervene urgently otherwise businesses will either have to increase their prices or shut up shop.

Customers of the Funky Gallo pizzeria in Roncadello were shocked by its energy bills.

Bollette in Vetrina was inspired by a pizzeria owner in Italy's northern Lombardia region who recently made news headlines after he displayed his electricity bill in the window of his premises.

Alberto Rovati, owner of the Funky Gallo pizzeria in Roncadello, claimed he would either have to start charging €10 for a pizza Margherita or close his business.

For the month of July, Rovati was hit with a bill of more than €4,000, which he said was triple the figure from the same period last year.