Monday, July 10, 2006


Two British news channels have, to my knowledge, reported today that Italians would have woken with “sore heads” following last night’s festivities. This is a culturally loaded assumption:

Italians certainly know how to celebrate but they don’t need to get drunk in order to do so. In fact, they don’t understand the binge-drinking British. As I mentioned, car horns sounded and there were cheers for a while after the match ended, but neither last night nor this morning did I witness any signs of a drunken celebration or its aftermath.

Sadly, some road accidents during the night have been reported, mostly involving young people driving at high speed following the victory. But there has been no indication that alcohol was a factor.

Contrary to popular belief, Italians drink moderately: one or two glasses of wine to accompany the long lunch and possibly the same again at the late dinner is the norm. Only on special occasions do the liqueurs and Limoncello come out to round off the meal. [In fact, Italian restraint at apéritif time drives a g and t woman like me round the bend!] And having to survive in the heat as they do, what the Italians are very good at is the manufacture of soft drinks – all types of fruit juices and flavoured fizzy beverages plus Chinotto, which is a bit like Coke, among others. In Modica there is an excellent local mineral water, Santa Maria, too, and, to get back to the football, I note that it was mineral water bottles that were thrown in the air in Rome when that last penalty went in!

There is to be quite a party in Rome tonight, fêting the returning team, but I’m willing to bet that it will be Mercury, in his sporting capacity, rather than Bacchus who will be worshipped there.

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