17 March 2011

Unità d'Italia / Unification Day

Most people know today is St. Patrick's Day.  Some will eat corned beef and cabbage; others, drink green beer and play darts; and even others, look for an opportunity to pinch someone not wearing green. But do you know that today is yet another holiday in Italy?  

That's right.  Today in Italy is Unification Day, the 150th anniversary of the day Italy became a unified nation, Italy's birthday.  Many people have the day off.  Italians love an excuse to celebrate, and the festivities actually began last night with another holiday in preparation for today, "Tricolore Notte" (three-colored night).  

Don't feel bad if you didn't know today is Unification Day. I didn't know last night was Tricolore Notte until it was happening, and I was already in for the night. Not for long, though, as I got up and joined the sea of people.  Live music was played in various piazze (squares). The queues to get into the museums that stayed open and gratis until 1:00 a.m. were long.  A giant mongolfiera (hot-air balloon) came to rest in Piazza Santa Croce. Fuochi d'artificio (fireworks) went off at mezzanotte (midnight) from atop Palazzo Vecchio.

No photos of my own to share with you in this post, but you can look here as well as here.

Life in Florence, Italy, is an endless festival, a carnival of happiness.

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