The Italian Almanac

flag waving crowd

Italian News - July 8

Italians unable to travel to Berlin for the World Cup final between Italy and France were busy on Friday preparing to join the flag-waving crowds in piazzas and and football stadiums across the nation. About 200,000 people are expected to gather in Rome's Circus Maximus, the site of an ancient chariot-racing arena, to watch the match on mega-screens and take part in the fondly expected celebrations afterwards.

Likewise huge numbers were expected at Milan's Piazza del Duomo and at central squares in Florence, Naples and Turin. Even though Italy has been in the grip of World Cup fever for weeks now, shops selling the red, white and green 'tricolore' flags and blue national team jerseys were doing a roaring trade as the week ended.

"It's incredible. I've had old ladies buying flags, businessmen buying crazy hats and mums buying shirts for their children," said one shopkeeper near Rome's Trevi fountain. Meanwhile a restaurant in Viareggio was taking superstitious precautions on Friday to stop fate spoiling the planned party. The restaurant owners have removed Normandy oysters and champagne from the menu for the next two days.