Two days ago it was Ferragosto. Which maybe does not mean much to you if you were born north of the Alps. If you are Italian, though, you know that 15th of August makes Christmas look like a pale imitation of a holiday. Someone might be working on Christmas: for sure some women are, preparing lunch for 20 members of the family on average. Ferragosto is a Catholic holiday as well, but it feels quite pagan. Everyone, literally, goes to the beach or to the mountains, everyone is on holiday, and apart from the very touristic destinations, you won’t find anything open. Every family will pack food prepared the day before, drive through traffic jams, and queue patiently for their little piece of lawn in the sun, to have a picnic. Fighting is traditional, and helped by heat and overcrowding. Also, the tradition requires politicians to make the silliest declaration of the year, knowing that the news, apart from the traffic jams, would otherwise be really empty. It is the apex of summer.
When I moved abroad and I discovered that it is actually allowed by natural laws to work on that day, I must admin I had a major cultural shock. It took me a while to recover, and a few years of making it to the office in the fog, or under a persistent rain, to really come to terms with the idea. For some reason the weather appears to be quite often awful on that day. This year, it was raining the whole day, with no breaks. It has not stopped yet, and it really looks like summer is already over. But! I won’t despair – not yet. The farmer market is still exciting, I still buy much more than I can carry, let alone eat, and new varieties of fruits and vegs are still appearing every week.