Rome: Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who joined the growing number of Italians visiting Albania on holiday this summer, ensured that a local restaurant owner was not left out of pocket after a group of her compatriots fled without paying their bill.
Meloni and her family spent a few days in Albania this week as a guest of Prime Minister Edi Rama, whose country is enjoying a tourist boom this summer with visitors drawn to its white sand beaches and low prices compared to the rest of Europe.
When news of some Italians running off without paying at a restaurant in the central city of Berat went viral in local media, Meloni stepped in to help, Rama told Italian daily La Stampa.
“Go and pay the bill for these idiots, please,” Rama quoted Meloni as telling the Italian ambassador to Albania.
Francesco Lollobrigida, the Italian agriculture minister and Meloni’s brother-in-law, was on the trip to Albania and said it was a question of national pride.
“She offered to pay the bill. The ambassador was on his way back to Tirana and was available to do this,” he told Reuters. “A few dishonest individuals cannot embarrass a nation of decent people,” Lollobrigida added.
Rama said in a TV interview last week that Albania expected to welcome close to 500,000 visitors from Italy this year. Many Italians shunned domestic trips amid soaring prices and travelled to the Balkan country where accommodation and beach facilities are cheaper.