By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
Many restaurants in Italy, charge a small fee called “il coperto” to cover the cost of a table set-up such as the tablecloth, napkins, silver ware, bread etc. However, the origin of this practice started for a different and humble reason that dates back to the Middle Ages.
During this period, many faithful individuals flocked to Rome, from England and France, on a pilgrimage seeking redemption. The easy way to get to Rome was by taking Via Francigena which crossed many towns and finally ended in Rome.
Once the pilgrims crossed the Alps, the villages and towns folks, along the way, offered a safe area under “il portico” to allow the faithful to rest-up and have some food before continuing on their long journey. The locals, who were very supportive of the pilgrims, would make a collection of food and clothes and bring it to “il portico” as a charitable and honorable act.
Maybe tomorrow’s restaurateurs could collect “il coperto” to fund organizations that want to feed the poor of the world and not use the money to defray their costs. A new idea from an old custom is still a great action. Meals-on-Wheels is not a bad idea after all isn’t it?
Did you know?
Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration, which could be sufficient enough to knock the bridge down.