By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
“Un Caffe’ Pagato” (An espresso coffee already paid for)
The tradition started along via Partenopea in Naples as a simple and good-will gesture, by well-off individuals, to pay for a coffee for someone less fortunate.
In 1884, a steam-driven espresso machine was invented in Turin and Neapolitans believed it was the right of each person to enjoy an exquisite espresso to stimulate his day.
Altruistic and wealthier Neapolitans would buy two coffees each morning at the local bar; one was for their immediate consumption the other was for a total stranger who would later pass-by later and approach the barrista and say:
“Buon Giorno! – desidero un caffe’ pagato – grazie!”
the barista would say:
Where else in the world, besides Naples, can one still enjoy a free espresso compliments of a total stranger?
To me this is truly wealth redistribution, without government intervention, and very much the Neapolitan way.