Buone vacanze emails have started coming thick and fast from Italian friends and contacts, the lucky ones with jobs. The August shutdown begins for much of the country this Friday and these emails have always struck me as a bit of a two-fingered “we’re all off now for a month of tanning and spritzes, you won’t get anything from us ‘til 1 September.”

But while they’re filled with exclamation marks, smiley faces and sunny snaps, there’s a rather dark cloud looming just out of sight. How easy is it to shut down your business and head to the beach with a clear conscience when youth unemployment in your country is around 36 per cent?

Tags: italy, labor