Italian Unity - Unità Italiana
Because I had recently witnessed the orgiastic rite of the Right as the Left left from governing Italy, I wondered what Italian Unity (Unita Italiana) might look like were I ever to observe it up close and personal. Then I fondly remembered one warm summer night in Urbino a few years ago. It was July of 2006 and I had been invited to the University of Urbino to give a few lectures on Visual Sociology during its UrbEurope Summer School. My topic was “Urban Europe Between Identity and Change” and I held my students enrapt (he said jokingly) as I expounded upon “Visualising change in urban contexts.”
All was not lost however as my wife Suzanne and I were given the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful city, Urbino, and an exquisite region (Le Marche) of Italy. Our visit was accidentally tied to both the graduations of Urbino's students and the World Cup (la Coppa del Mondo) of Soccer (il Calcio) between the favored (la favorita) France and underdog Italy.
Suzanne and I reserved a corner, ring-side table at a restaurant on a small square where a large screen had been set up so that people in the town could watch the contest together. In virtually every other location in the city, bars and restaurants had converted their establishments into extensions of the world cup stadium. The space slowly filled with those of every age and sex, and by the start of the game, we were forced to watch the game under, around, and through those who stood just outside the perimeter of the restaurant and our obstructed view point.
When the international battle ended in a tie, I decided to take a position near the front of the audience and try to capture their reactions during the sudden death shoot off. The following photos need no further explanations as Italians reponded in unison with every shot until they burst into ecstatic fury with the win, hugging and kissing everyone in sight.
They then moved en masse to the main square, Piazza Garibaldi, as folks from other parts of town joined them in a rare dsiplay of national unity.