The Italian Almanac

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Count the Coins

An angry butcher fined over 5,000 euros by police for displaying his wares in the street paid the penalty in 1, 2 and 5-cent coins as a protest. Luca Calcagnini from Vernio, near Prato, spent two and a half years collecting 400 kilogrammes of pennies, which he drove to the police station in the back of a van. ``I brought 1,000 euros in notes and 4,040 in small coins and they accepted the payment. I`ve counted it all, now it`s their turn,`` he said.

The butcher was fined three years ago for extending his sales area by placing a table on the street outside his shop. But Calcagnini disputed the penalty. ``It wasn`t even an increase in sales space since it was just an exhibition table. That day I made 200 euros, and I had to pay out 5,000,`` he said. The butcher began collecting coppers to pay the fine after a justice of the peace rejected his appeal, but he said he still plans to take the case to court. ``I`ll keep going, even if it takes ten years``.