The chiesina of Longoio sprang to life yesterday with its annual church service officiated by Don Franco. The altar was simply but effectively decorated with white lilies (the symbol for Mary and a reminder that May is the “Marian” month).
It was magical to hear the singing of hymns against the fresh pattering of raindrops in the forests surrounding this well-packed little chapel which, somehow, must have felt it was not forgotten on this day.
The vicar’s sermon on the passage in the Book of Revelations: “and I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” was incisive and given an ecological as well as a theological bent. He also emphasized the point that we should be on good terms with each other and, at least for the forty minutes of the service, there appeared a welcome conviviality among the congregation and old scores were temporarily, discarded. We found the Don better than we had expected after his retina problem but rather pessimistic about things both locally and nationally: “le cose vanno a rotoli” he stated (roughly translatable as “things are going to the dogs”).
Anyway, there is now a government in this country (to be sworn in today) after two months stalemate and, furthermore, there is the highest percentage of women in the cabinet ever (seven in all), including a lady born in Congo and now responsible for social integration – so Italy seems to have, in theory, taken some slight leap forward.
Let’s hope it will work this time since morale all around is low as a result of that economic crisis which not only has increased unemployment, especially among the young, but also caused so many businesses to go to the wall and, sadly, propagated even more desperate suicides among workers who can’t take it anymore.
I don’t know if “La Dolce Vita” exhibition, extolling the benefits of buying into the Italian market, still takes place annually in the UK but if it does I would rename it “La Vita Amara” the next time round. Young Italians are leaving this country in droves to seek (often badly paid) jobs further north and those Brits who came to Italy with big rose-tinted glasses and small monetary reserves, imagining a dream world of sunflowers, olives, chianti and year-round bookings are facing hard times.
Competition in the hospitality industry is tough and one has to offer a real quality product with personality to stay in the field. We wish all competitors the best of British luck. Meanwhile roll on the weather for sun-kissed beaches, open-air pools and barbies – even today the mist beckons and it’s drizzling relentlessly – good for our ducks and artichokes – not so wonderful for impatient walkers…