Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Italia...Sort of

Today marks the 150th anniversary of uniting this here peninsula from fractions and kingdoms into a nation .  You'd think it would draw major celebrations, national pride, fireworks even.  In some cities that is true, but much of Italy seems uninterested, even downright indifferent.  While the schools are closed and politicians will no doubt give windy speeches, there are no major celebrations planned in our area.

The risorgimento created a unified political entity but didn't fully succeed in unifying the nation culturally (or even linguistically, as many regions hold tight to their distinct dialects).  Down here, they viewed the unification as trading one foreign ruler (the Bourbon king) for another (the Savoy king, Vittorio Emanuele, who didn't speak Italian), which, they say, resulted only in territorial expansion and continued exploitation, rather than a united nation.  Loyalty stays with the region - or better to say, with the province or localized area around your town and with your famiglia; politicians and national entities can't be trusted to hold the people's interests at heart.  Campanilismo, is devotion to one's town - only people within earshot of your campanile (bell tower) can be truly trusted.'s complicated.  As with all things political in Italia.  Rather than celebrating the unification, we're told that the festa della repubblica is a more worthy celebration, when a post-war popular vote sent the king into exile and the constitution was established.  But even better than the festa della repubblica, says our barista, is the festa di Sant'Antuon or a nice sagra della salsiccia.  Local celebrations, those are the ones that are most important, he says.  Unity stays within sight of the campanile.

Read Other Bloggers' Views of the 150th Anniverary of Italy's Unification:

Happy Birthday, Italy - Rob at Windrose Hotel

150th Anniversario dell'Unita' d'Italia - Bryan at 2 Italy

Crostini Tricolore - Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino's recipe tribute

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Italy and the Italian Language - Becoming Italian Word by Word

150 Unita' d'Italia - News From Italy blog


S.R. Piccoli said...

Well said, Valerie. Thanks for linking to my post at WRH, è veramente gentile da parte tua. Have a great weekend!

LindyLouMac said...

I do agree with your post as well Valerie, local celebrations are much more important to our local community also, but they did make an effort yesterday with all the flags and a wreath ceremony. Also thanks so much for the link to my take on yesterday.
Viva l’Italia! Long Live Italy

Evey said...

It was a oddity for me to watch such a celebration, the bigger cities were definitely decked out, but I read many of the opinion pages of two papers today, the local one, Il Tirreno, Pisa locality, and Corriere, and boy do reactions range, just as you wrote...all the way to a researched story that Garibaldi was a mercenary, with no feelings for Italy at all - that may be well known but it was new to me.

Valerie said...

Hi Rob - E' stato un piacere.

LindyLou - Prego cara. Nice that your town had a little something. We saw only 3 flags here; nobody cared, except for the kids who had a free day from school!

Evey - Interesting. The papers all have different angles, depending on their political affiliations, huh?