Thursday, June 2

Italy's Main Man

June 2nd in Italy, Google treated us all to this nice shot - celebrating our 150th year as a united country (in fact, I saw it right about the same time the planes flew overhead); Italy's unification basically meant that from that time on, everyone had to pay all their taxes to one place (or in Italy, not pay them), although bribes are still being dispersed healthily according to the former feudal system of favoritism, nepotism and patronage depending on the region, town or village in which you live.  

Lately, the Northern League Party wants to change all that (the one-stop tax payments, not the bribes) by bringing some of Italy's national ministries to the north.  That way, Mr. Bossi (party leader) can then act as Overlord and seal the deal for kickbacks for all and northern sundry, without having to come all the way to Rome in order to do so (he may recall that Tangentopoli - Bribe City - started in Milan).  In fact, so nostalgic for 'the old ways', Bossi saw to it that his son proved so brilliant - with no experience whatsoever and who failed his high school diploma 3 times - nonetheless could scrounge up a pretty impressive job - fancy that! - He's now a Parliamentarian for Europe, earning upwards of $20,000 per month.  Earnings on par with Barack Obama.]  And Mr. Bossi loves to rail about the graft and corruption in Rome.

But I digress.  The nation, once it got its collective act together, started to build a national railway and road system.  And while I've oft-stated that via Garibaldi (named after the man who set out to unite our fair country) was synonymous with Main Street, turns out  I was right:  

- Giuseppe Garibaldi holds the pole position in the naming of streets or piazzas, with 4247 vias in his honour.
- Second comes Mr. Mazzini, again one of the architects of the Unification of Italy with 3307 streets or plazas
- And, in a show of our artistic heritage, Giuseppe Verdi garners a healthy third place with 2937 streets named after him*

*Tutta Città - the map company came out with this


Dave514 said...

For all opera lovers, could you ever imagine going to see anything, let alone an opera, written by a man called, "Joe Green?"

Irreverent Italy said...


Jacques said...

Remember that "Tangentopoli" was also known as "Mani Puliti", which way back when was revolutionary and implied that, at least in the North, they were capable of cleaning up their own bribery scandals and coming clean, something that further down in Central or Southern Italy would have been inconceivable.
So in this sense you seem to be providing support to Bossi's thesis.

Irreverent Italy said...

Good point - although if you watch 'Gomorrah', you'll see that 'tutto il mondo e' un paese' when it comes to shenanigans...I don't think anyone's got the market cornered in any one place but hey, you may be right.