Monday, August 19, 2013

Closed for Summer

Closed for holidays. Three weeks is pretty tame compared to some.

I'll admit it, I've got some major abandonment issues right now.

Even in a big, international, world-famous city like Milan, everything shuts down here over summer. Go into the city centre and yes, a lot of things will be operating as normal, but there are hardly any Italians at all around. They've all scarpered off to the beach or the mountains, or got on a plane and flown off to somewhere hot and sunny. August is the month that Italy closes for its precious holidays. There's a massive religious holiday here on the 15th, known in Italian as Ferragosto. It's almost bigger than Christmas. On the 15th of August the Catholic church celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Italians use it as an excuse to barbeque everything they can get their hands on and eat themselves silly.

My neighbourhood is absolutely deserted. This is my fifth year in Italy and it still freaks me out. There's barely any traffic and even less pedestrians. I can't even remember the last time I saw anyone around in my apartment building. Seriously.

I live in the eastern suburbs of Milan, and in the three years I've been living in my flat I haven't seen much of a change in the holiday habits of the shopowners in my neighbourhood. The pastry shop in the piazza that makes the most gorgeous pasticcini is always closed for the month, so is the trattoria next door to me (yay no drunkards!). In my neck of the woods, away from the touristy areas of the city centre, it's mostly the international shops that stay open, run by immigrants. The internet cafè, the butchers that sells halal meat, and the awesome little grocery shop run by a Chinese family. Luckily the supermarkets are also open all month, one was open even until lunch on Ferragosto! So there's no risk of me going hungry.

I always feel very excluded and left out in August. Everyone I know here's away on holiday, posting photos of the beach or the mountains on Instagram whilst I'm stuck sweating away in the city. The TV's full of repeats and the major national radios have set up camp in seaside resorts (No, really. They get to work at the beach for a month.), so even at home I'm constantly reminded that everyone's away. I try to see the positive side of it, a quieter, more relaxing Milan, but it just makes me feel very lonely.

The countdown to September is on.


silencer137 said...

Feeling left behind is never good. Hope the melancholic mood is just temporary.

Nerys said...

Thanks, I hope so too :)

Mariuccia said...

I love Italy in August, when cities are almost empty and everything is so peaceful. It's such a joy to finally be able to enjoy a long walk with no traffic and no smog.

Nerys said...

Hi Mariuccia, that's one positive aspect of it :)