Monday, April 7

An Italian Expat Repatriates

I am reprinting this post from for your own amusement (or despair, whichever comes first):

An Italo-Australian from Agrigento came back to Italy after forty years. He was in for some wicked nostalgia.

photo from Fiat 500 blog:

He left Italy in 1968 with Mike Bongiorno and Pippo Baudo on TV, and Andreotti in Parliament. Alitalia was on strike. He had to go by ship. The commuter trains were full, filthy and late. He remembered the road works from that time, happening everywhere. He remembers the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway about to be finished. Back then, there was the crisis of the Mezzogiorno (Italy's Southern region), the problem of the mafia and the neo-fascists.
He’s found everything the same as before. Exactly the same.

On TV there was even Mino Reitano, Peppino di Capri and Gianni Pettenati singing Bandiera gialla. “And Pannella?” He asked me. “Is he still there?” I assured him that he’s still there and that he does a beautiful thirst strike. "And Albertazzi and Raimondo Vianello? How about them?" I told him that they are often in the prime time evening slots.
"What about Emilio Fede and Bruno Vespa,”
he went on, “the TV News people?” “They have a different boss but they disinform even more than before -- their experience knows no limits,” I replied.

At that moment on the radio, Tony Dallara was singing “Come prima più di prima”{Like before but more so} and Mina was at the top of the best selling charts.

The emigrant thought I wanted to pull his leg so he started zapping the TV channels. To confirm his ideas.

He found: a debate about the modernity of the work of Manzoni with readings chosen from “I Promessi Sposi”, Roberto Benigni reciting The Divine Comedy and the Pope speaking from the balcony.

The last car the emigrant had, was a mousy-coloured Fiat Cinquecento, with a folding top. “And Fiat, how’s that going? And its current models?"
I hesitated a moment, frightened of his reaction. I then showed him an advert for the new Car of the Year – the Fiat Cinquecento.

“Mago Zurlì?” he whispered. I wanted to lie, but I couldn’t manage it. “Presenting Zecchino d’oro this year as well. But there’s no more Topo Gigio. He’s now gone into politics.” {note: Grillo's endearing term for Walter Veltroni}.

He returned to Sydney straight away, and sent me a postcard. It was an old postcard showing the rubble of Belice in Sicily after the 1968 earthquake, the same as today.

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