Have you ever wondered what the people of other Countries think of your own? I do.
I want to tell you a short story. Years ago I spent some times in San Francisco as a guest of a very good friend of mine, so I had the chance to explore every corner of the city on foot. One day I decided to visit the Coit Tower at Telegraph Hill. I paid the entrance fee and together with me there was just another couple. While on the lift taking us to the panoramic terrace, the guide started telling us the story of the tower and the reason why it has the form of a fire hydrant. Just before getting out of the lift, the guide asked the couple where they were from and they replied they were Australians, but he didn’t ask me. So I asked him why he didn’t want to know where I was from and he replied: “I don’t have to ask, you are obviously Italian”. Thus, I asked him how could he guess and he replied “only an Italian can be elegant even on holidays”. I looked at myself and I realised that although I was wearing very simply with a jeans and a t-shirt, the colours of my clothes were perfectly matching each other: the shoes matching the belt and the jeans matching my blue t-shirt. That was the first time I understood people around the world have a clear opinion of the Italians.
By travelling so much I discovered that the Italians are considered elegant, nice, friendly, happy, good at food and privileged of living in what many consider the most beautiful Country on Earth.
In fact, when abroad I am asked where I am from and I speak the word “Italy”, the usual comment I get is: “Ah… bella Italia!!!” I can’t deny that I am proud of it.
In these past few months, Italy has been the first Country, after China, to experience a wide outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. For a couple of weeks it seemed that for some mysterious reason the virus choose Italy as a victim among the western world. In those 2-3 weeks, when very few cases were detected in other European Countries and the rest of the world, we were in a state of shock, incredulous that something like that was happening to us only and we started questioning what did we do differently from others to attract the virus. Then, it all happened. It was just a question of time and every single Country in the world underwent the same.
It was in those very first weeks of the epidemic that the Italians understood how much the rest of the world cared for us and for our Country. The colours of our Flag started illuminating monuments and landmarks everywhere, showing love and affection for us, stimulating us to fight against the virus and to be resilient even when everything, including our freedom, seemed to be lost.
I understood that Italy has a special place in the hearts of many and that the world cares about us. We might be noisy, loud, gestures obsessed, messy and not well organised, but that is probably what makes Italy so special and why the people of the world love us as well as this incredibly boot-shaped peninsula which may not be the cradle of humanity but is the closest representation of its vices and virtues.
Here below is a collection of monuments illuminated with the Italian “tricolore”: from New York to Dubai, from Rio de Janeiro to Sarajevo, from Toronto to Jerusalem, the displays of affection have been so many that we only have one thing to do: wait for you to come visit us again and thank you one by one.
Torino is my own city and its most iconic monument, named Mole Antonelliana, in these days is illuminated with the Tricolore on the southern side.
The Big Apple is the place where a large community of Italian migrants was first established in the USA. There still is a section of the city called “Little Italy”, although most of it disappeared in favour of China Town. Here below is the love shown by the New Yorkers by illuminating the tip of the mighty Empire State Building with the Tricolore.
Toronto is a big metropolis but also is home to a big bunch of Italians who got attracted by the kindness and the welcoming attitude of the Canadians. Love and affection is definitely mutual.
Dubai is one of the welthiest places on earth and the recent architectual development of the city prooves it. Dubai offers plenty of job opportunities and that is why, when it comes at food, several Italian cooks and chefs moved there. Here below is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, illuminated with the Tricolore.
Rio de Janeiro
Italian communities are almost everywhere in the world but if there is a place where the largest ones are found, this is Brasil. It is said that almost 50% of the population of San Paolo is Italian or has Italian roots. Here below it the stature of the Redeemer in Rio, showing the colors of the Italian flag.
Jerusalem is a very special place for all of us. It is a honor to be supported by what is a Holy City for billions. This are the walls of the old city showing the Tricolore.
The city was stuck into what semmed to be a neverending war. The city knows what it means being lockdown for long and being deprived of your freedom. Thank you Sarajevo!!!
The city has a special place in my heart. I spent quite some time in San Francisco and I might say it is the city I know better after my own. I loved roaming around the steep streets and learning how to turn the steering wheel correctly when parking around the buena vista park, close to what was my home. I love you Frisco and can’t wait to come again!!
This list could continue for long. I decided to include in this article just a short list, although my personal gratitude and that of all of us, Italians, extends to all the people in the world.
Andrà tutto bene!!!!
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