In a unique act of diplomacy, Italy’s government has settled the restaurant bill of four Italian tourists in Albania who left without paying.
The dine and dash in the city of Berat made headlines in both countries.
The chatter prompted Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama to raise it with his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, while she was visiting the country.
She responded by telling her ambassador to “go and pay the bill for these idiots,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
Italy’s embassy in Albania confirmed in a statement that it had paid the bill, reportedly around €80 (£68), on behalf of its citizens.
“The Italians respect the rules and pay off their debts and we hope that episodes of this kind will not happen again,” it said.
A group of Italian tourists went viral in Albania after running away from a restaurant in the country without paying the bill
PM Meloni decided to pay the bill out of her own pocket because, as she stated:
“Italy’s reputation can’t suffer due to fools” pic.twitter.com/P6zQuSfEjC
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) August 19, 2023
Italy’s agriculture minister and Ms Meloni’s brother-in-law, Francesco Lollobrigida, was also on the trip to Albania and told the Reuters news agency that paying the bill was a matter of pride.
“A few dishonest individuals cannot embarrass a nation of decent people,” he said.
It is unclear when the incident happened but security video of the group walking out of the restaurant and wandering into the night has gone viral on social media.
The restaurant owner told Albania’s Report TV that it was the first time customers had left his establishment without paying and said the four Italians had even complimented the food.