Sunday, June 26, 2011


After the surprisingly low-key wedding "rehearsal" (do Italians waste time on plans and logistics?), Simon suggested that we all take an hour or two to freshen up and then head out at around 8pm for the picturesque beach town of Fregene. Fede and Marzia played, swam and sunbathed away vast swaths of their childhood there, and it will be the site of the wedding reception next Saturday. I'm beginning to understand that one of the secrets to truly understanding and appreciating Italy: when invited, go ahead and do the things which at first blush might seem pointless and illogical; because almost invariably that will be one of the times when it's possible to steal a peek behind the thick curtain which separates hapless stranieri and italiani. If, for instance, I had gone with my strong initial inclination here, I would have said "You want to pile into the car, brave an hour of chaotic traffic to the beach, eat, and then turn right back around and drive back? Grazie, no." But then I'd have missed out on seeing thousands of Romans in white linen on the powdery sand beach, literally collectively applauding the last light of a spectacular sunset, I'd not have experienced a delicious meal of fish - eaten among a surreal crowd that might have served as extras in Fellini's Satiricon, and I'd have never seen the stop and go traffic snaking past the ruins of Caracalla's ancient baths at 1am, with tens of thousands of festive young communists celebrating the Festa de l'Unità on one side of the road, while somber nuns, priests and true-believers on the other side marched silently in a single file candle vigil.
We arrived at the beach just in time for the optimal lighting of a beautiful sunset. Sorry for the photo spam; I took a lot of pictures of my lovely subjects.
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