Flagless in San Giorgio

Yesterday, the 17th March, Italy celebrated the 150th anniversary of its unification. Here in San Giorgio the mayor had sent out a notice asking people to display the Italian flag. On the day San Giorgio responded with about 6 or 7 flags down the whole length of via Garibaldi.

On the 16th we had gone for a coffee in “La Dolce Vita”, a cafe on the road to Pergola. Normally they celebrate everything. At Christmas they have a white Christmas tree with lots of lights and ribbons. At Easter there are chocolate eggs and fluffy chickens everywhere. But for 150 years of unity there was nothing. I asked the waitress why they were not celebrating and she said they would be putting up a flag on the 17th. When I asked her where she would buy a flag she said they had one from the World Cup too years ago. The same was true for other people I asked. So had lots of San Giorgio’s citzens bought a flag two years ago and now couldn’t be bothered to get it out?

Or could he lack of flags be due to lack of availability. We decided to be patriotic and went to buy a flag at the supermarket – none available. Then we tried Roberts’s our local newsagent and again she was sold out. On the news the same situation was being reported all over Italy. Shopkeepers, surprised by the demand, had none left. However, the lack of preparedness on the part of shopkeepers is not surprising. With the World Cup people knew a couple of years in advance that Italy would be there. However, as the Government only finally decided in February that the day would be a national holiday a lack of preparedness on the part of shopkeepers or a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the people is understandable.

Of course, on the day there were lots of large scale events in Rome, Milan, Torino etc. But perhaps the lack of flags, of house parties of enthusiasm in a small village like San Giorgio confirms what surveys say i.e. that after 150 years people feel a stronger attachment to their town than they do to their nation.

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