November’s gone, it’s time for another episode of Life in Italy.
I don’t really like November, to be honest. Here in Italy, it begins with All Saints’ Day, on November 1st, and the Day of the Dead, on November 2nd, two days you spend remembering the ones you lost.
This makes quite a sad beginning for a month which, in my opinion, is just a useless break between the lovely beginning of fall in October and the brightness of December.
When I declared on Facebook that November is the worst month of the year, lots of people told me that there’s a lot of beauty in that month. I tried to see it, I made the effort, but somehow didn’t manage to. I am so happy it ended, so we can be all happy and shiny and wait for Christmas.
But let’s see what happened in Italy during the month of November.
Well, how can I like November if, here in Liguria, it almost always means heavy rain and floods? We got big floods in the past years, the most recent ones in 2011 – when 6 people died in Genova – and 2014. And we got one this year as well. It happened on Thursday, November 25th: After 4 days of non-stop rain, we got a massive rainfall (in some areas we had the same rain it usually falls in half a year) and then there was the flood.
Luckily, nobody was hurt and there have been no victims, but we got huge damage to houses and streets. A nearby town has been without water for five days and some areas still do not have it. My family just had some minor damage, nothing really bad, but it was kind of scary.
(this is the photo of an auto dealer five kilometers from where I live)
If last month I told you that what we kept hearing on the news was: “chi è Elena Ferrante?“, the repeating mantra of this month is: “vota Sì” (vote yes) or “vota No” (vote no). This refers to the constitutional referendum which will be held on December 4th. We should decide whether to approve a change to our Constitution which will lead to the reduction of the number of members of parliament, the reduction of institutional operating costs, and other important changes – at least in the words of the proponents.
This proposal has caused big criticism from its opponents, which claim that it has been written in the wrong way and may make the government too powerful. Moreover, our Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who strongly supports the referendum, has said that he will resign if the No to the proposal wins. This has caused a big debate between proponents and opponents and you don’t hear anything on TV but discussions about the referendum.
I have a lot of doubts regarding the referendum and still don’t know what would be right for me to do, but I am happy that December 4th is just around the corner because I am fed up with people discussing and fighting and insulting each other.
November also saw the death of Umberto Veronesi, a famous oncologist and former politician, who passed away in Milan at the age of 90. Veronesi was undoubtedly the most popular oncologist, here in Italy. He has devoted all his life to working on the prevention and treatment of cancer, especially breast cancer, and even created his own foundation for cancer research, one of the most famous Italian institutions in the field.
He was also deeply involved in the pro-euthanasia social campaign and was a committed vegetarian, who never missed the chance of speaking openly about his choice and even contributed to spreading awareness about this important topic. He was a vegetarian mainly for ethical and environmental reasons, but also wrote many books about the importance of a healthy diet to prevent tumors and other diseases, which is something I strongly believe.
After all this sad news – I’ve told you that November is a bleak month, haven’t I? – it’s time for something lighter. One of the happiest news of the month was the new book by Paolo Cognetti, who is my favorite contemporary Italian writer. He has written many short stories, a novel, titled Sofia veste sempre di nero, and some essays about New York and the art of writing.
I like him for the way he writes, for his ability to understand women, and for the two big passions we have in common: New York and the mountains – which seem kind of conflicting, but actually are not. His new book, titled Le otto montagne, is a declaration of love for the mountains and a tale about friendship. I am reading it these days and loving every page.
Unfortunately, it is not translated into English yet, but I totally recommend it to you if you have a good command of Italian. Otherwise, you can just wait for a little while, as its English translation is currently underway.
Just as I did last month, I want to end this post with some music. This month Marco Mengoni published his new album and we keep listening to his songs on the radio. Who is Marco Mengoni? He is one of the most popular Italian singers nowadays. His career started after winning the 2009 Edition of the Tv show X-Factor, then he became famous really fast and his popularity grew steadily ever since.
Here is one of his most played songs on the radio these days. (I hope you’ll be able to view the video, due to country restrictions).
But tell me, what happened where you live? Something nice? Let me know!
If you are looking for interesting ways to practice your Italian daily, I’d suggest you check my brand-new program called Giorno dopo giorno, a daily Italian practice.
If you sign up to Giorno dopo giorno, you will receive an email every other day for 365 days. Each email will contain a prompt, a little exercise, something to watch, read, listen or something that will gently force you to practice your Italian every day, making it part of your daily routine.