April has been quite a relaxing month, here in Italy.
As I have told you in my post about spring, if you are lucky April can be a month full of days off. In fact, if Easter falls in April, you get to have some days off for that festivity. Moreover, if April 25th – which is Liberation Day here in Italy – falls either on a Friday or a Monday, you get another day off. But you can even do better if May 1st – another Italian public holiday – falls again either at the beginning or at the end of a weekend.
Actually, we have been super lucky these year, because all of the above took place and we got to have a lot of days off. Moreover, Easter was quite close to April 25th and, if you could take just a few more days off from work, you could end up not working for quite a while. Well, this doesn’t happen quite often and not many people can afford to do that, but you have the opportunity, at least!
However, no matter if you were able to enjoy a short of holiday or not, you surely had a few days to spend with your family and do all the activities we Italians normally do on such days: go for a road trip, eat a nice lunch, have a picnic in the countryside, sunbathe a little, spend the day with your family, and enjoy springtime.
But let’s see what else happened last month!
There’s a topic which has been in the news quite a lot, lately. It’s vaccines. In the recent years, somehow quite a few people were led to believe that vaccines are dangerous and decided not to vaccinate their kids. This obviously started quite a debate, in the country, as municipalities and schools began asking mandatory vaccinations for kids to be admitted to schools and kindergartens.
We have been debating about the issues for quite a while now and this month the topic was in the news again because it seems that there has been an increase of the cases of measles. Though everything is under control and there is nothing to worry about, such event gave way to a much-needed discussion on the importance of vaccinating kids, for their own safety and that of other people.
Another topic which has been in the news a lot recently has to do with Alitalia. As you know, Alitalia is Italy’s national airline. If you happen to either land in Rome Fiumicino or Milano Malpensa, you’ll surely see their white planes with the iconic Alitalia sign or the elegant staff in green dresses walking around the airport.
Unfortunately, Alitalia has been going through some serious problems lately. It all started a few years ago, when the lack of money caused it to file for bankruptcy. The company was then acquired by a group of Italian businessmen, with the help of some national funds, but this didn’t seem to work. The company kept losing money and in 2013 was acquired by Etihad Airways. Once again, this did not change things.
Alitalia keeps losing money and is now seriously on the verge of bankruptcy, again. On April 24th, workers voted to reject a management restructuring plan, refusing to make more sacrifices, and this will probably lead to the company being put into special administration. We’ll see what happens, even if the rules of business are strict, it is still sad to see what was once one of the Italian points of pride end like this.
On a much brighter note, April saw the announcement of the finalists in the Premio Strega. Premio Strega is the most prestigious Italian literary prize, established in 1947 by writers Goffredo and Maria Bellonci, together with the owner of Strega liquor company. Since then, the prize is awarded annually to the best work of prose fiction in Italy.
The winner is usually declared on July 6th, while the twelve writers who have reached the final stage of the competition are announced in April. I am really happy this year, because one of my favorite books has reached the final: it’s Le otto montagne by Paolo Cognetti (which I mentioned in another Life in Italy post). In case you are interested in reading what the other selected books are, you can find the list here. I have to admit I haven’t read any of them, but I am really curious about La più amata by Teresa Ciabatti, who is an autobiographic account of the relationship of the author with her parents.
As usual, I like to finish this post with a song. The most popular song these days in Italy is Fenomeno by Fabri Fibra, one of the most famous Italian rappers. Let me warn you, it’s addictive!
Now I want to hear from you: what happened in April in your country?
If you are interested in learning more about Italian culture and lifestyle, I’d suggest you jump on my digital Vespa and join Be Italian For A Month, your 30-day virtual journey to Italy.
You will also learn some Italian words, you’ll receive some typical Italian recipes – ready to be cooked and enjoyed, you’ll get to tour around Italy, and learn about Italian traditions, proverbs, stereotypes, you name it. Plus, some cute surprises along the way!