The things I picked this week have nothing to do with the beach but, rather, with my maddening, wonderful, crazy and dysfunctional home country, Italy. A few things you might not know and that might make you smile. And think.
One. Now that the previous record holder died in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, the oldest person in the world is Emma Morano who is a whopping 116. Ms. Morano credits her longevity to eating a raw egg every day. And being single all her life. Food for thought.
Two. When in Rome…the traffic will drive you insane and the traffic wardens don’t help matters much. Unless a family of ducks needs to cross the street and find their way back to the banks of the Tiber. This officer not only stops traffic to let the birds cross but then goes on to worry how the ducks can get back to the water. And that is why I love Italians: they put their hearts in whatever they do. Check the video here.
Three. Italy just celebrated the Day of the Republic, a national holiday, on June 2. Italy became a republic 70 years ago. On June 2 1946, Italian citizens were called to vote on a referendum choosing whether to keep the monarchy or create a constitutional republic. They chose well. Had it gone the other way, this would have been our royal family today (they were allowed to come back to Italy only a few years ago).
Four. The myth of the jealous Italian man endures, in a charming, Marcello Mastroianni movie kind of way. The reality is that the killing of women at the hands of their partners has been on the rise for quite a few years. It’s called “femminicidio”: women who try to leave possessive relationships, or abusive ones or just want to move on, are killed by men who see them as possessions. This reads: “70 years ago Italian women were granted the right to vote. Now we would also like the right of leaving our boyfriend without getting killed.”
Five. A debate that raged for many months was whether to allow gay couples the right to marry. While same-sex unions are prevalent (and civil unions now legally recognized) and most definitely not hidden, Catholic mores still find them hard to swallow. This poster reads: “As long as two men who kiss are more scandalous than a man who beats a woman, there will always be something wrong in this bloody country.”