I'll comment on some of the stuff said in the article based on my experiences in Italy as a foreigner.
They tend to offer pastries in the morning — sometimes homemade, often not — and stock alcohol for the 5 p.m. crowd.
This is accurate for most bars I've been to. The time of day that they introduce/no longer serve can vary though. Some bars also focus more on pastries and have coffee/espresso as a second thought. This usually means the espresso is not as good as other locations if the equipment is not maintained or cleaned.
They never offer coffee for takeaway.
This may be true for the north, but in Campania region and south you can order takeaway in the form of a large plastic cup covered in tin foil for the top that has 3-6 shots of espresso that you pour into smaller cups given to you.
For decades, for everyone from bureaucrats to factory workers, coffee has been the best excuse to take a quick pause (or three) in the day. The commodity is as much the coffee as the time at the bar.
I agree breaks will still occur even if coffee is not the 'excuse.'
Italian coffee tends to rely on blends that includes the cheaper Robusta beans, noted for their bitterness and lack of acidity, and common in instant coffee.
I say this is more true to the south. Northern brands like Illy have been introducing more arabica focused roasts and I have seen quite a few single origin roasts while I studied in Venice. I say there is merit to the Robusta bean, and the flavors it can provide. However the method/time of roasting will affect this flavor profile. Brands like Folgers has also given a bad rep for old and often over roasted robusta beans. For me personally I settled on a small local company named Saka that produces my favorite blends of Italian coffee that blends 70% arabica with 30% robusta.
Italy's version of the cold summer drink is the shakerato, an espresso shot shaken with ice. But it's face-puckeringly bitter
There is a sweet version of this called Caffè del Nonno. Just add some sugar!
And the final and most accurate note of the article (ESPECIALLY in the south)
It's not a written law, but it's written in people's minds," the barista said about the expected low cost. "A shop near us sells underwear for 90 euros. That is okay. But a coffee for more than 1 euro, never!
Let's just say I balk at paying anything more than 1.20 euro for an espresso and will almost always decline buying espresso in the states or outside Italy while I travel. In terms of trying to change the time capsule I think Italy should keep the cheap affordable pricing for espresso, but also offer more nuanced or specialty options for those who like the third wave culture. The new Starbucks in Milan has done this pretty well imo!