Una Sorpresa ( A Surprise)

The planned busy morning in Martina Franca fizzled into nothing when luckily I looked at the weather site on line and saw at the top of the page  Festa della Repubblica in brackets before the forecast. Hang on I thought that sounds like an holiday and sure enough June 2nd is a public holiday. Nothing is open on public holidays so the plans were cancelled.

In my defense this is the most non holiday holiday down here in the south. No one talks about it nor does anyone seem to celebrate it in anyway or not around here. Most holidays there are lunches out and plenty of wine drinking and eating but this one is just a damp squib.

The day is to celebrate Italy becoming a Republic and ousting the royal family which was done by a vote. The south in fact voted overwhelmingly to keep the King and the north overwhelmingly to toss him out. There are more voters in the north than the south and so on his bike he got.

The north disliked the Royal family because the moment the Allies landed on the mainland after faffing around in Sicily for a few months the Family hightailed it out of Rome and came south. They stayed here while the North endured another two years of war and reprisals at the hands of the Nazi retreating army.

Rome celebrates the day big time of course. Hey tax payers money to spend and you can’t keep a good trough feeding politician from spending it. There are parades and the highlight is a fly pass by the Italian aerobatic squadron.

Republic day


These boys are good by the way. I saw them a few years back at the Farnborough Air Show and they were amazing. One party trick was two of them arriving at either end of the runway inverted with the tailplane seemingly inches from the runway and then hurtling past each other wing tip missing wing tip again by inches. Fantastico . I think the whole of Farnborough held it’s breath as they did it.

The police control the parade and pictures from last year show why Italy’s public finances are in the state they are in

Police Cars


That looks like a Lamborghini and how many of those do the guys in Rome cruise around in.  No wonder you have to know someone very high up to get a job in the police.

As I said there are no celebrations for Republic day going on around here. Martina Franca is like a ghost town as is Villa Castelli . No Italian flags are flying and the only sound is of people rotovating their plots of land or strimming away at the 6 foot high grass that has grown with all the rain.

That was until music started in the Agriturismo farm next door a few hours ago. It seems Celine and Fabrizio are celebrating something and have hired in a band to help them and their friends do just that. I would think it is a marriage by the decorations on the car.

Oddly ever other song  is Gloria which might well be annoying Celine somewhat  by the third time of Fabrizio requesting the band to play it.

Still the other song being regularly played is YMCA so maybe Celine is getting her own back

I had hoped to astound you with yet more factoids about Puglia from David Gilmour’s book but it has turned into an history of Italy instead to show how diverse the country was as it moved towards unification and how few people including Dante who is considered by most to be the father of Italy really saw it as the solution.

I guess it is quite apt to be reading it on Republic Day while Fabrizo and Celine fight it out with tunes and the rest of Puglia strims away almost unaware of the day’s meaning but happy to take the holiday.



About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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