Tomorrow is a national holiday in Italy, as in many other places, I’m sure.
The efficient and business-friendly Brits organise their ‘bank holidays’ for Mondays, in order not to mess up the rest of the week (except for the most important ones – Christmas, New Year and Easter – which are beyond the reach of civil servants…)
Americans don’t seem to take holidays at all, I hear, so as to leave more time for making millions.
As for Australians, well… life down-under is said to be one long round of barbeques and surfing. Lucky them!
May 1st is a national holiday, of course, no mattter what day it falls upon.
The Italian constitution contains the phrase:
L’Italia è una Repubblica democratica, fondata sul lavoro. La sovranità appartiene al popolo, che la esercita nelle forme e nei limiti della Costituzione.
“Italy is a democratic republic, founded on work” i.e. on the graft of the masses, rather than on ‘capital’, whether inherited or earned.
And today, April 30th?
In theory it’s a perfectly normal Monday.
But if you’re trying to conduct business with an Italian company, or hoping to get through on the phone, or to receive an answer to an email, woe betide you.
Half the country is closed!
That’s because anyone who can ‘fa il ponte’ (‘is doing the bridge’).
Which is to say, is ‘bridging the gap’ between the weekend and the mid-week holiday with an extra day off.
We had a ‘ponte’ last week, too, on Wednesday 25th, ‘la festa della liberazione’ (end of the occupation in WW2).
You can imagine how this messes up the school calendar and, in general, impacts on business.
‘Bridges’ drag on the economy for four or five years in a row, as the sequence of national holidays works its way through the week, from Monday to Friday.
And then, boom!
All the holidays seem to fall on Saturdays, and then a year later, on Sundays, which is less economically damaging then a ‘ponte’, but not much fun.
When a national holiday falls on a Saturday, all the shops and businesses are closed, like it or not.
Which makes for a pretty boring weekend (though at least you don’t have to go to work.)
And when they fall on Sundays?
Well that’s just tough luck!
Anyway we’re good for sunny long weekends in Spring for a few years yet, so I can’t complain. This afternoon I’m going sailing, maybe tomorrow too, and I won’t be back at school until Wednesday.
Oops, nearly forgot.
1. Many, many thanks to everyone who bought a copy of our newest ebook ‘La Via Francigena‘, the discount on which has now ended. Your support was very much appreciated – this was our best-ever launch in terms of the number of copies sold in the first week.
More of you must be at an advanced level (or just very ambitious) than I had anticipated!
2. And last but not least, here’s another of our free Italian lessons to keep you busy over tomorrow’s holiday.
This one’s on the verb Mangiare (To Eat).
And you’ll find other recent new materials here.
A mercoledì, allora!