Friday, August 26, 2011

Il caldo

Fa caldo. It's hot. Molto caldo. Very hot. For over a week Italy has been sweltering in temperatures which have reached over 40 degrees in some cities. For days the weather forecast I hear every morning on the radio could be summed up in two words: caldo and sole. Hot and sun.

In Milan the maximum has reached around 35 degrees but with the humidity it felt closer to 37. That's the problem with Milan, in the summer it gets very humid. Go out of the city and you'll find a much more bareable, 'dry' heat, even if there's no difference in the temperature.

The sky's been cloudless during these hot days, but today the clouds arrived and the temperature decreased. Tonight the sun set behind fluffy white clouds and left an evening which was much cooler than the ones we've had recently.

Now there's a breeze blowing, the thunderstorms that were forecasted for tonight and tomorrow morning are probably on their way. I hope there's no storms in the middle of the night; after these hot, sticky nights that's the last thing I need! Hopefully after this spell we'll start to get some Autumnal weather, I'm definitely ready for some cooler temperatures!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Song of The Week

This week's song is by legendary singer-songwriter Edoardo Bennato. To give you some idea of how long he's been around for, one of my favourite Italian songs of all-time is by him, Il gatto e la volpe. It was released in 1977, nine years before I was born. This is his latest single, La mia città.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lesson of The Week

If a big angry hornet gets into your house do not run away like a terrified child, because you will fall over and end up with some very nasty looking cuts and bruises on your leg.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Riots

I was planning on writing this post in Italian over on my Italian blog, to sort of give Italy my take on this week's events in London and in other cities in the UK, but I've decided to write it in English so I can explain myself better.

It took a while for news about the London riots to filter down to Italy. It happens all too often, international news stories that don't effect Italy simply don't get mentioned, or if they do then they aren't explained fully. A lot of the time it feels like I'm living in a bubble, even though I may understand every single word in a news bulletin, sometimes it doesn't feel any less of a bubble than it did when I first arrived in Urbino, unable to string a sentence together in Italian. By the time Italian media really started to report the news yesterday I was playing catch up. An amico on Twitter sent me a link to The Guardian's live coverage and I started to fill in the gaps.

But I haven't abandoned Italian news altogether. Last night, like the night before, I was watching Rai News to keep up with the riots. At times they were using clips from BBC World News whilst translating the audio simultaneously. It reminded me of how they covered the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier in the year, taking feeds from NHK and translating what was being said. But this time the images weren't coming from thousands of miles away, but my country. If you've never experienced anything like this then it's difficult to explain how it feels. I suppose helplessness sums it up well, mixed with a certain sense of surrealism. You're hundreds of miles away seeing these images on tv, of burning buildings, people who have lost everything, rioters causing damage to their own communities; and all you can do is watch. The distance sort of makes it feel like it's not your country.

From what I've heard today the situation in London has improved. I'm very proud of the majority of Londoners, those who have been cleaning up and providing support to those who need it. That's what Britain's about, being strong and staying together; not mindless looting and destruction. My thoughts go out to everyone in the UK who's been affected by the riots, hopefully there'll be an end to this difficult time soon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Agosto, il mese più freddo dell'anno... 'August, the coldest month of the year'. After I had to take my summer holidays in July, this is going to be the first full August I've spent in Milan. And I'm already starting to feel a bit excluded from society in general, as I'm someone who's working throughout the month.

Broadly speaking, Italy does shut down for the whole month. Italians simply can't go without their month long holiday, usually on the beach somewhere in Italy. You can start to feel lonely. Not only does everyone (or almost) you know go away on holiday, the city shuts down to a certain extent too. Your day to day life changes, whether it's because than panetteria on your street's closed so you can't pop in for fresh bread every day, or the bar near your work's closed so it means no coffee deliveries every morning; oh, and public transport runs on a reduced summer schedule too... The radio and TV schedules change, and there's always the constant talk of beach, sun, and holidays...

So it's about making the most of what could be a bad situation. It does have its upside though, less traffic and air pollution for example. I'm determined to enjoy August in my own way, even though I can't go on holiday like most of the country.