Italy’s Back to Campanilismo
Italy’s recent loss to Spain in the European cup was “meritata” as countless Italian newscasters and fans all over the country admitted in interviews. But what a glorious show of Italian passione these weeks have been! And not only: taken up in the surge of excitement, passione, I read assiduously all soccer analyses in the Gazzetta dello Sport and other papers after the games, marveling over the finely-written articles, smiling over descriptions which could ONLY be written – and hungrily read – by Italians. This line, for example, written after Italy defeated England. to describe how Montolivo played: “his moves on the ball were like brushstrokes of Caravaggio.” As Italy headed into the final match, one sports journalists wrote, “Abbiamo ridotto L’Inghliterra e la Germania a nature morte” (“we reduced England and Germany to still lifes”). That artistic bent again…
Before the final game against Spain, one journalist wrote that the Italians would be outdoors, everyone all together, in front of big screens set up all over Italy – in front of cafes, in restaurants, in the major piazzas (with the exception of Siena, due to the Palio) because of their need – whatever the outcome – to share “un abbraccio grande quanto una piazza” (“a hug as big as a piazza” – what else?!). And most wondrous: “per noi italiani, almeno una volta, senza campanili, nel gioco piu’ bello” (” and for us Italians, at least once, without belltowers, in the most beautiful of games”)
After all, only at European Cup finals, World Cup finals – maybe at Olympic games – do all Italians feel – above all – “italiani.” The European Cup is over now and as I write this from Lake Bolsena, I know that here everyone feels once again, “Bolsenese”. The night of the final game, Italian flags were painted on faces, waved in the air, strung across streets, hanging from balconies, sold in shops. After the defeat, faces were scrubbed, the flags put away and until 2014 and the World Cup, campanilismo prevails once again. “Belltowerism” or the loyalty to the belltower in your town piazza will reign for now. Tricolors will fly and nationalism will take hold once again in two years.
Facciamo le corna for the next time.
Le corna sign was there in full force the night we lost to Spain but the Italians were unsuccessful in keeping off “the evil eye” of defeat. All the same, what glorious shared moments of Italianita’.
A glorious defeat.
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