After eight years running a bar, Laura Maggi suddenly found men beating a path to her door.
Not for the quality of her coffee and aperitifs, but because she had started appearing for work in highly revealing outfits.
Hundreds of male customers flocked there day and night, leaving their cars double parked in the surrounding streets.
Congestion became such a problem that the lady mayor announced she was considering an emergency bylaw to limit traffic in the area.
Now women in the small northern Italian town of Bagnolo Mella have declared Le Cafe out of bounds to their menfolk – and 34-year-old Miss Maggi has become a national celebrity.
Yesterday she was a guest on Italian morning TV and said: ‘I don’t see what the problem is – it’s just a bit of harmless fun.
‘If the guys come here what can I do?
‘I know I have upset the women but that’s not my problem.
‘It’s not my fault if guys want to come and have a drink in my bar.’
She added that some customers were travelling up to 70 miles just to have a coffee in her bar.
On the walls of Le Cafe are pictures of Miss Maggi in a bikini on holiday.
She has 5,000 new friends on Facebook while a local poll found that 46 per cent of respondents said partners of her male customers should be ‘asking themselves why their partners prefer Laura to them’.
Several wives from the town have been on TV to complain. One said: ‘It is outrageous and should not be allowed.
‘This town is quiet and respectable. Now we are known across the whole country because of the little amount of clothing this barmaid is wearing to serve drinks.
‘The women in town are not very happy and we have complained to the council.
Bagnolo’s mayor Cristina Almici said: ‘We have received several complaints from women about the bar and we are looking at what we can do with regard to public order.
‘There has been a huge influx of traffic into the town since the news of Laura started to spread and this has led to incidents of bad parking and some minor acts of vandalism.
‘We can’t stop people from going to her bar and I know it is very popular with men in the town – personally I don’t see any problem with how she looks or dresses.
‘If anything, it’s the men who go there who have a problem.’
She added, however: ‘My husband is certainly not allowed to go there.’
by Harry Harper