DEFENDING THE RAILS: Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle lashed out against the vice president of the Italian senate Maurizio Gasparri on Wednesday, following the politician’s snarky tweets about railway company NTV Italo, which Della Valle developed with Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.

Gasparri had posted numerous messages on his Twitter account suggesting it was risky to purchase Italo train tickets given the firm’s shaky financial situation, which La Repubblica reported on this week. According to the Italian daily, 300 of NTV’s estimated 1,000 employees risk being laid off and placed on government-funded assistance, due to measures implemented by Italy’s ministry of economic development that significantly raised company costs.

Gasparri’s comments, Della Valle shot back, were “shameful” given the large number of young Italians who cannot find jobs.

“We Italians have supported [the senator] for decades with lavish salaries,” he noted, adding: “He took it upon himself to publicly make false statements and to wish for the failure of an Italian firm that employs more than 1,000 people with an average age of 28, young people who are proud of their jobs and happy to be working.”

Della Valle further called for Gasparri to “resign or be chased out by those with the authority” to force such a move. Short of that, the Tod’s executive said the silence of other politicians would indicate that: “in the end, they are all the same.”

NTV, which competes with the publicly funded Trenitalia and currently serves 13 Italian cities, pays an estimated 120 million euros, or about $157.5 million at current exchange, to use the national rail lines, according to La Repubblica. The firm took out an advertising page in that paper Sept. 3 expressing its displeasure with Gasparri’s remarks. In an earlier statement, NTV had said it was “working hard to strengthen the principles of competition in the high-speed train sector.”

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