Who here among us has not watched Aziz Ansari frolicking among the cobbles and tortellini in Modena in the first few episodes of the second season of the critically acclaimed Master of None and thought “Oh, boy. I wanna be that guy. I wanna do that. I want those white jeans, the bicycle, the beautiful friends, the pasta, the chubby Italian child sidekick, the black and white cinematography. Even that stupid flat cap. Give it to me”? The answer is none of us.
The reality is not quite as simple as it looks, as one brilliant killjoy, TV writer Zach Johnston at Uproxx, worked out:
“First, there’s the flight,” he writes. “A flight for this summer (June 1-August 31) to Bologna from New York will set you back $867 right now. From there, it’s a short train ride up to Modena that costs about €4. That flight is the biggest expense by far.”
Yep. Turns out that living your dream can cost you a fucking shit-ton of money. Who knew?
Adding up his morning espresso, rent, travel (well, he's got a bike), groceries, and eating out every single night, Johnson works out that it's not chump change per calendar month:
Rent: €500 for a one-room apartment in the city center
Grocery budget: €180
Morning espresso: €30
Eating out (in general): €300
“So, Dev lived in Italy for three months,” Johnson notes, “that’s a budget of around €3,643 ($4,095). There’s also the matter of his phone, which was evidently still on a US plan. So, it’d be safe to say that’s at least another $50 a month. No so terrible, right?”
So that’s like, £3,135 for a great summer. But there’s more: the Vespas, the train journeys, the expensive birthday restaurant (Osteria Francescana, the WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANT) and a bunch of other shit, and you’re adding easily another £1,000 on top of there – and that’s just the stuff that landed on screen.
If we’re to believe that Dev lived life as he did on-screen when off-screen, then you’re looking at like £5,000 for the summer. Not to mention all the fine-ass Italian clothes he procured on his travels...
But is that so bad? Maybe, maybe not. Can you put a price on life changing experiences? On meeting people you’ll never forget, on seeing things that’ll stay with you until your dying day? On learning a language warm and rhythmic, beautiful, hearing and understanding the song of its local dialect and being able to converse in it with strangers who grow to become friends?
YEAH. YOU CAN. IT’S LIKE, AT LEAST FIVE GRAND.
Un sacco di soldi.
Nice life if you can afford it, tbh.