• Friends, family, football, food, church... The Italian Sunday

    What does Sunday mean to you? Bear this in mind for the next hundred words because the Italians have coined their own significance for their Domenica Italiana. 

    The Unwritten rule

    Church, friends, family, food, football, sleep. Davide Miele 2009 

    The context is probably too simple, too idealistic, but the bare bones is there. 

    It's a process that has become engrained through generations of perfection. For me, it's three stages; bar, pranzo, pizza. 

    Andare al Bar... 

    The Italian bar can also be the Pasticceria. (Cake shop) but don't think that this an excuse to eat; it's a vessel to meet friends, talk football, life, politics and an opportunity to shout,"offro io" (it's on me). This can lead to awkward fumbling of reaching for the wallet in a quick draw scenario but the entertainment and time spent at one's favourite cake shop is priceless. 

    It also means that you are on official desert duty. The words fresche & secche hold no truer value than at a cake shop on the peninsula. 
    The Pasticceria is more than a "cake shop"
    (Fresche - fresh, usually with cream; Secche - dry, will keep longer) 

    Il pranzo 

    Depending on the region, every Sunday meal is different. There is no standard Sunday Roast. In the South it's ragu (mainly). Polpette, involtini (Bracciola), insalata, dolci; depending on how well you've done with your selection... and then cafe'! 

    I don't want to talk about the digestivo but this is ritual as well. Grappa, Limoncello, Nocciolina, they are paraded, the bigger the selection the greater the host you are. 

    E poi... 

    What's left? Is this where the Italian Sunday dissolves into nothingness? 

    It's not as bleak as that, it can be, but luckily it's not. Lest we forget Italian TV which has Sunday TV shows that last hours and frankly are atrocious but accommodate a certain generational audience; need I say more than Pippo Baudo to get the memories flowing? (For non-Italians he's an Italian institution of TV). 

    You could spend the rest of your afternoon looking for other family members, you could, but at your peril. They could be sleeping or knocking back a digestivo too many. 

    Love thy pizza chef! 

    My Domenica Italiana will finish on pizza, like many Italians who are "fame, ma non tanto... dai, una pizza andrebbe bene!" (hungry, but don't want too eat too much) 

    Per concludere 

    It's a cultural phenomena. How many citizens in the world can claim a stake to their own day? You invite friends to join "your Sunday", it's a cultural crossroad for you and your friends to put the world to right before feasting and forgetting everything else. It's the day of football, family, church and friends, you can't put that in order, like everything else in Italy, you live it. 

    Now, how does that compare to your Sunday? 

    I'll leave you with Toto Cutugno's 'ground-breaking' piece on his take of The Italian Sunday. 

    "Ma... la... domenica italiana c'è qualcuno che ti ama. //La schedina fra le dita può' cambiare la tua vita //ma... la... domenica italiana è una domenica serena. //E se vai a cercar fortuna in America //ti accorgi che l'America sta qua." 

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