Traditional bakeries in Rome are shutting shop and some are resorting to selling old bread at half-price to draw hard-up customers as a devastating economic crisis hits ordinary Italians.
"Crisis-Beating Offer: Bread left over is sold the next day at half price," read a sign at a bakery in the Trionfale market near the Vatican.
"For a while our clients have been quietly asking us if we can sell them yesterday's bread to save money," said Cesara Chiappini, owner of the bakery, told Rome's Il Messaggero daily.
"It's above all pensioners who ask us but also young mothers. Instead of paying 2.35 euros ($3), they save 1.17 euros. It's not a lot but then they can go and buy a kilo of vegetables," she said.
Assopanificatori, the national association of bakeries, said 60 bread shops in Rome shut down last year and production fell by 10 percent -- a sign that Romans are saving on food.
Italy's main farmers' federation Coldiretti said that last year nine percent of Rome's inhabitants were fed by charities.
A recent study by the official data agency Istat revealed that 71 percent of Italians have changed the quantity and quality of the products they buy as a result of the crisis and have cut down on medical visits and analyses.