I got told off for the subject line of Friday’s emailed article, which was “Le donne a Parigi non portano le mutande!” (“Women in Paris don’t wear panties!”)
It was sexist, apparently, and reflected poorly, both on me personally, and on the club. The article in question was promoting the newly-published Episodio 3 of our FREE Summer Series of Italian texts with audio – I protagonisti dell’unità d’Italia (XIX secolo) – which was about the new Italian state’s young-ish monarch and his royal enthusiams for hunting, making war, and chasing women.
Keep your knickers on, I replied to the upset club member, or unsubscribe. I’m not sexist!
Joking aside, the Summer Series was written by a woman, and anyone actually taking the time to read it will understand that she doesn’t have the highest opinion of re Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia.
Eighty-five years before the establishment of the Italian state, Americans declared independence from the British monarchy and organised constitutional government (albeit one in which slaves and women had no voice – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…)
Seventy-two years earlier, Europe had been further convulsed by the French revolution and the subsequent continent-wide war. So naturally, Italians, in organising their new country in 1861, opted to have it run by a horny young king.
How did that work out?
A bit of a curate’s egg, apparently. Vittorio’s basic plan was to play to his strengths, so tax the poor, then go to war – against the neighboring Austro-Hungarian Empire over real estate to add to the new Italian kingdom.,
Unfortunately, the poorest of new Italy’s citizens were to be found in the south, in the areas triumphantly won from the Spanish kings by poncho-wearing hero Garabaldi, only to be immediately handed over to yet another distant monarch…
With predicable results: poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, sky-high levels of child mortality, lawlessness, and the first waves of emigration.
I admit, I’d expected this period of Italian history to be rather self-celebratory and tedious. Actually, it’s fascinating and explains a lot of what followed. Take a look for yourself:
N.b. Those who haven’t (yet) read/listened to Episodes 1-3 will find them our History page. SCROLL DOWN to find them, as this year’s Summer Series is right at the bottom.
Scan down and you can also see what’s coming, this week and over the next eight weeks of summer.
Don’t forget to read/listen to Saturday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news, which, like our Summer Series, is FREE.
Why not subscribe? That’s also FREE. Subscribers are emailed each thrice-weekly bulletin, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.