One great thing about Italy is that many trades which have become practically obsolete in many parts of the UK, such as tailors, seamstresses, grocers, butchers etc., are still going strong in this land of small independent businesses.
As I pondered upon how lucky I am to be living in a place that isn’t completely usurped by chain stores and browsing The Local Italy news website I came across an informative and rather entertaining photo gallery of jobs – some odder than others! – (see photo gallery below) that can only be done in Italy and the Vatican (photo No.1): Cheese whisperers, olive oil-sniffing police, elite 5-member vinegar tasting panels, posing Gondoliers, tubby Roman smokers turned tough Roman centurion soldiers for the day … Before my British sarcasm clouds your judgement, these are in fact all legitimate professions in Italy and put together they illustrate perfectly one of the reasons I love this country full of contrasts: Only Italy is able to delight all of one’s senses, through the senses: sound (cheese whispering); smell (olive oil sniffing); taste (vinegar tasting); sight (the Roman centurion and the Gondolier: the importance of looking the part, looking good, looking and looks in general have earned Italy its fashion kingdom status but has also led to unfortunate phenomena such as the Berlusconi hair implant and roughcast face); touch … well come and get a feel for the place yourself!
Naturally, my personal favourite of all these noble occupations – the olive oil sniffing police came a close second – has to be the Latin Translator. Translators spend so much time trying to live up to Lawrence Venuti’s invisibility ideal that we deserve the spotlight once in a while!
“At no point in modern times has the role of Latin Translator been so important as when Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2013; the news was announced in Latin and the scoop was won by the only journalist fluent in the language.”
THE PHOTO GALLERY: Top 10 jobs that only exist in Italy