Mishmash: Rome and splashes of Puglia

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The weather in Rome was lovely, but the string of beautiful late summer days finally broke this morning. No more alternating blue skies, multi-hued wild cotton flocks of sheep-like clouds piling up and blowing by with drenching showers followed by rainbows two and three deep. It’s been a glorious season, but today looks like the city’s glum administrative outlook has finally seeped into the environment.

The Eternal City’s somehow uninspiring at present. So I’ve chosen a few pictures of early August in Puglia, where sun and food and history blended more simply yet often more harmoniously than here.

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The point is, Rome suffers from age-old ills, and is in particularly dire financial straits. With a new municipal council and Mayor-lady who have been in deer-in-the-headlights frozen mode ever since being voted in back in June. “No” is their only flavor of the day to date, “no” to our candidacy for the 2024 Summer Olympics, so “no” for the 2023 Rugby World Cup too. Events that could have provided opportunities to build a much needed campus for university students (an Olympic village for athletes in its first incarnation) and who knows, really drastic anti-traffic measures and changes that could have ushered in a new age of decent quality of life with few cars/more buses in this perennially gridlocked city.

Now we’ll never know.

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Instead of the Olympics which are anathema to the current politicos, we were triumphantly told we would enjoy a taste of “international culture in keeping with the traditions of this Great City” (quote), as we’ll be hosting four UEFA Euro 2020  football (=soccer) matches. I’m a football fan myself, but would gladly pass. We’ve been invaded a great many times by hordes of drunken foreign fans, and some get their kicks rampaging through the historical center, throwing bottles at shop windows and savaging invaluable works of ancient architecture. So now shops in the center tend to lock down their shutters pre-emptively when it’s international football time. So much for international culture. The last degrading invasion was in February of last year. Google to believe: it was indeed beyond belief. Ms Mayor probably isn’t aware of it, as she lives in the periferia and has been quoted as saying she doesn’t read the papers much.

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Our garbage emergency has reached apocalyptical levels because plants are either non-existent or on hold because of mafia-type investigations. Though Romans aren’t enthusiastic recyclers, just for organic garbage, the figure for the city is some 200 thousand tons produced each year. Of these, we send off 170 thousand tons to be composted elsewhere. Most of it is sent to the upper northeastern corner of Italy, very near the border with Austria. Total yearly bill: € 20 million. No apparent progress nor policy to deal with the stalled situation, though it’s not clear if it’s because of the ongoing corruption case against their newly appointed garbage councilwoman, or because nobody’s been willing so far to take up the vacant CEO post of the garbage company, or just because the amateurs currently in charge of our city are simply too clueless to understand the issues. The latter’s quite possible, to quote one of them “We’re here to learn.” Learn, as in school? interns?

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Besides, this new party is supposed to be green-friendly, and should be moving aggressively to apply laws passed by the previous much decried administration, to ban the most polluting vehicles from the city limits as of November 1. As Italians aren’t big on car-pooling, and too avoid ramping up to an even higher level of traffic and/or social mayhem, they’ll have to rush through a complex and comprehensive plan cum effective communication, to ensure that some 140.000 suddenly carless people can get to their jobs anyway. So far, if there’s any kind of plan, it’s a well-kept secret.

So today’s finally autumnal grey and glum, it’s cold and rainy. The skies seem to have caught up with the general mood of the city.

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A good time to time-travel back to Puglia…

Source for Rome garbage situation: la Repubblica Oct. 9 2016 (Cecilia Gentile)

Photos of Puglia  © 14thcountry.com

 

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26 Responses to Mishmash: Rome and splashes of Puglia

  1. Wow,You write soo beautifully ……👍

  2. dunelight says:

    I dream of Italian sunshine while living through our gray winters and so your news is interesting indeed!

  3. Bun Karyudo says:

    I had a quick Google search to find out a little more information about the situation in Rome and I was surprised to find out that the new Mayor, Virginia Raggi, is only 38. I’d have thought at that age, she might be very active and full of ideas, but from your post, it doesn’t seem that way.

    • Bea dM says:

      What’s age without maturity (her FB posts reported in the press are pretty juvenile) nor any relevant track record? She’s almost totally inexperienced, and was voted in for all the wrong reasons, including her looks/image. Foreign press seemed enthusiastic, probably precisely because of the age/gender/image thing, but disregarding the fact it’ll take much more than a comely face to even begin fixing Rome’s disastrous status quo.

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Interesting. If she doesn’t have much idea what she’s doing, she’d be better to surround herself with older hands who have the necessary experience to help her. (From what you say, though, it sounds as though she hasn’t been doing this.)

      • Bea dM says:

        Exactly, the Rome crowd are clueless in preferring to avoid people “tainted” by previous political experience. The Mayor in Turin is from the same “new” political party, but quite another thing – apart from her own credentials. She’s doing a pretty good job because she understands networking and collaboration with old hands is a must.

      • Bun Karyudo says:

        Well, let’s hope one mayor learns from the example of the other.

  4. Barb Knowles says:

    I sound redundant, but I always love your writing. Here’s a suggestion which you can totally ignore and my feelings won’t be hurt at all, lol. Because I’m lazy, I don’t look at a map of Italy when I read your posts. Obviously, I don’t need to look up Rome, but sometimes, like with this post, I’m interested in exactly where Puglia is. I could easily look it up, but it would be interesting to see an accompanying map occasionally when your posts travel afar.
    Also, how is Rome affected by the presence of the Vatican? Is it insular? Do residents of Rome avoid the area at all costs due to traffic? Is it a positive influence on local economy? Have I given you enough questions this morning?

    • Bea dM says:

      Yes you have, and I appreciate your advice immensely. So glad you enjoy reading and that you want more 🙂 I’ve been posting less because it’s hard to be upbeat about Rome at present, and these are excellent subjects to cover, so I’ll answer your questions soon. Grazie mille!

  5. Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie) says:

    Hi, Bea. I see what you mean about your being in a negative place, but sometimes that’s what the world inspires. It’s sad, but it’s good that you are voicing your insights and opinions. It’s so important to speak up – to speak truth … even (especially!) when the truth is an unpleasant beast that no one wants to deal with. It often feels like so much of the world is in a bad way these days – whole countries, continents even. It can make us feel helpless, but I believe that writing about things is always a positive step in the right direction – awareness, understanding, dialog. I hope, as you mentioned over at Live to Write – Write to Live, that you are on an upswing now; but I’m also glad that you are here putting the words down about what you see around you.

    • Bea dM says:

      Hi Jamie, I’m very grateful for your long and thoughtful comment. I strongly dislike being negative, and feel guilty when I write stuff that’s neither positive nor pleasant. But it’s all around, and in fact I only wrote a fraction of what’s happening in this helm-less city, and it’s all going to impact us down the line. It would be more in character if I just avoided the whole subject, but you might be right. And maybe it’s a growing thing to also put the “bad” into words. After all, it’s part of writing, right?

      • Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie) says:

        I struggle with that same dilemma, Bea. I prefer to be upbeat, positive, and optimistic. I always look for the silver lining, but sometimes there’s no getting around the fact that something is rotten in Denmark, as the saying goes. While I don’t like to dwell too long in a negative space, I do feel almost a responsibility (to myself? to our readers? to some undefined world at large?) to talk about what’s happening in the world … to name the wrongs and injustices that I see.

        On the other hand, there are plenty of writers and artists who stay always focused on their own “worlds” of their creations – never crossing the line to step into the reality we all share. And there’s something to be said for that, too.

        Even in the little, bi-weekly column that I write for my local paper, I am often torn between writing some semi-idyllic piece about feeding the crows, the delights of Halloween, or the sensory pleasures of autumn and writing a more political/opinion-based piece on town policies, the election (gods forbid), or some other current event.

        I guess that, in part, it has to do with finding (and owning) my “voice” … and determining which part of my voice will be public, and which I ought to keep more or less to myself. 😉

        It’s a complex path we walk as writers. But, at least we don’t have to walk it alone.

      • Bea dM says:

        Specially when there are writers like you to mentor us along. Brava! (means you’re cool)

      • Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie) says:

        🙂 We’re all traveling together – side by side.

  6. Hi Bea,

    And I thought we had political troubles here in Boston! You guys have quite the challenges ahead of you. I don’t know much about Puglia, but it is sounding better and better!

    Nancy

  7. Hi Bea, I googled the football fully expecting the trouble to be down to English football fans and am relieved that it wasn’t. Wish Rome had gone for the Rugby though.

    • Bea dM says:

      Yes, it wasn’t the English that time round – and was actually the most vandalistic episode ever 😦 Too bad about rugby, as interest is growing in Italy and fans are famously “civilised”, maybe ’cause the onfield aggressiveness is sufficient 🙂

  8. sabaimru says:

    Puglia looks really lovely! Makes me want to travel south. Thanks for all the informative news about the Rome and it’s new Mayor, I had no idea it was that crazy!

    • Bea dM says:

      Puglia is indeed lovely, wide open spaces and good vibes. I’ll be posting more about the region, and might lay off Rome for a bit 🙂

  9. Loved the beautiful photos and so very informative and nice was your post.

  10. roninjax says:

    Isn’t it interesting concerning the impact of politics worldwide. No doubt the gloom will be lifted and sunshine is always present, above the clouds. American football is my favorite sport – from college to the NFL. I do appreciate the other sporting events too and glad we have a professional team in town. I don’t attend though. Love your photos too.

    • Bea dM says:

      Glad you liked the photos! I also enjoy watching American football occasionally on TV. As far as I know, sports in general in the US don’t lead to spectator violence, whereas soccer in other parts of the world has/is known to trigger often very ugly fan violence – including stabbings 😦

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