On Youth (Giovinezza,Giovinezza)

renzi.jpgI don’t know whether you have realised that this country is undergoing a revolution, the youth revolution. Yes, we are making way for the young and replacing the old dusty generations of managers and politicians with fresh, vital new forces. Would you believe it? Here is an example: our new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Actually, this renewal process had already started when we got rid of old serious Professor Monti for the much younger Letta, who was only 46  – a toddler for our standards – but that was not enough: only after few months he was brutally replaced by Matteo Renzi, democrat, age 38.  In his first speech at the senate for the vote of confidence, the Prime Minister did his best to look at ease in such a formal place: unbuttoned jacket, a hand in his pocket and Haruki Murakami‘s The Art of Running well displayed in front of him as sign of the new dynamic times, then, nonchalantly he slapped with the arrogance of his youth the silent and astounded senators, informing them that their time was over, as he was planning to wipe out that chamber soon, reforming the Constitution. Ah, the impetuosity of the young! Oh, giovinezza, giovinezza!!!

Trasmissione televisiva Porta a Porta

Gorgeous Minister Elena Boschi

Therefore, now if you want to have a career in politics and access to the seats that really count, you’ve got to be young or at least look young            ( Professor Berlusconi could lecture us upon this point), that means being active, vigorous, energetic…...I don’t know, these words seem to evoke something, but what? It seems as if I have already heard this kind of slogans. However, our politicians have quickly dusted their trainers and tracksuits and started to exhibit their sporting talents, so you can see pictures of them, while they are enduring hard sessions of push-ups, sit-ups, morning runs.There is a Montecitorio running club, in fact, whose membership have recently boomed. Matteo Renzi himself is a runner or maybe used to be, as he seems to have put some weight on lately. All the members of his staff are young, as for example Maria Elena Boschi Minister of Constitutional Reforms and Relations with Parliament, age 33, she is also very attractive as a matter of fact. However, they represent the dynamic,vital, fresh blood that promises to transform this country. Ahh, giovinezza, giovinezza!

Matteo Renzi had formerly been Mayor of Florence, and I have to admit that he did really well. The city looked so organized, clean, so “North”  let me say. At this point I feel like tranquilizing whoever is going to come here to Rome for Easter holidays, we are still fully in the disorganized “South”, don’t be alarmed! Nothing has changed. But let me think, how old is our Mayor Ignazio Marino? 59? You see!!! The current Mayor of Florence is Dario Nardella, age 38, and very much alike Matteo Renzi. You can see him at the starting line of Florence half marathon two weeks ago.

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Sporty Mayor Nardella. Does he have a hand in his pocket? Must be a distinctive mark.

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Fresher blood running through the streets of Florence. The little boy here, may be the next Prime Minister soon!

Now I remember. This is not the first time, in fact, that this country celebrates the boost of youth. Actually, it was long time ago, and the Prime Minister was, was…………… The Dux, Benito Mussolini. Ahhhhhh, giovinezza, giovinezza!!!

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Giovinezza is the official hymn of the Italian National Fascist Party, regime, and army, and was the unofficial national anthem of Italy between 1924 and 1943.

Mr Run in Florence

289Uhmmmmm, let me think, what did it say ? “…for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part“. Following a husband in any marathon is not mentioned in any set of marriage vows, and actually it is nothing that these lips have ever pronounced. Life is getting harder in these latitudes my friends, as almost every week-end my husband is mostly engaged with a competition and just recently has decided to “emigrate” and feel the thrill to race  “abroad”, that is in a different place from Rome and surroundings. The astute man, therefore, told me a couple of weeks ago that he was planning a romantic weekend and had singled out Florence to make ME a surprise, as he knew that I particularly love it . Great. The ingenious man, however, only after some days nonchalantly informed me that there would have been a half marathon that particular week-end in Florence and he was planning to run it . What a coincidence. ” For better, for worse, in.………”.

Therefore here we are, we took the train and in an hour and a half we were in Florence late in the afternoon.

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The Arno

If the real goal of the trip is the race rather than romanticism, everything is about what you can’t do. You can walk too much, because the runner can’t be too fatigued and you can’t eat too much or make too many culinary experiences, as a heavy, slow digestion can put at risk the performance. However I managed to make him tour the town (you don’t need taxis or buses to see Florence, you can just walk) and see the beautiful squares and monuments just like the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower and The Palazzo Vecchio.

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Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall of Florence)

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Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower

We also stopped at the fountain of Il Porcellino (Italian “piglet”) is the local Florentine nickname for the bronze fountain of a boar. Il Porcellino figures in Hans Christian Andersen‘s “The Bronze Hog” in A Poet’s Bazaar . I seems that stroking the statue brings you good luck and that’s why tourists always crowd to touch the nose of the boar and take a picture.

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Credulous tourists.

If you like market places, the most famous one in Florence is San Lorenzo and also the Central Market (Mercato Centrale) where you can find myriad vendors dedicated to the primary ingredients of Tuscan cuisine.

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Central Market

My husband is very fond of lampredotto: a typical Florentine peasant dish, made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow, the abomasum. You can find vendors of lampredotto sandwiches everywhere in Florence and it is as popular as pizza. Unfortunately lampredotto belonged to the list of what my husband could not eat before the race as it takes at least five hours to digest it.

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Lampredotto vendor

However, after many can’t, the night before the race we succumbed to the culinary temptation, as we went to an amazing restaurant La Brasserie where we had the most wonderful experience. They propose a fusion of Tuscan and French cuisine at a very good price. In case you go to Florence, I linked it for you.

The following day the meeting point was at Piazza Santa Croce.

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Finish line

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Can you spot the odd one out?

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The start

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Happy people running through the streets of Florence

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The winner

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Mr Run’s final effort. Time 1:30:40 Wow!!!!!!!

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Do you think this is the deserved reward?

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This is the real reward. Super sandwich with lampredotto.

This week-end hasn’t been that bad after all. Sorry love, when will the next race be? 🙂