something an Italian notices right away when crossing the border with
the Confederation: the square (important!) red flag with the white cross
is everywhere. Especially private houses.
Now, this might not sound that odd
to my USian friends, ’cause Americans love to fly the old
red-white-and-blue but as noted many times it’s super rare in Italy.
Basically only official buildings have flags in Italy.
Here, instead, I received a booklet advertising a flag company,
where you can buy flags in 3 different grades of cloth of growing
quality, carabiners, poles, ropes, and even special flag-cleaning
products to wash them! And they don’t just make the red Swiss federal
flag, obviously, but one flag per Canton (which is to be expected)…
but also for each single Municipality, City and other local
institutions! Plus, whimsical Swiss flags featuring super-swiss things
like Cows, Edelweiss, and so on.
It’s still odd to me, but mostly harmless 🙂
if you zoom the pic you can see a bonus oddity: the text says
“Attenzione, bandiere in azione!” which, if you know Italian (or use
Google Translate) seems to say “Warning! Flags in action!”… which is
not what it means. This is one of many “Swistalian” bits of language:
“Azione” (action) actually means “on sale” ^___^
Something that’s probably not that well known outside Switzerland is how much the Swiss just love Carnevale (we’re talking Brazil or Venice levels of passion): in Ticino where I live, not only a couple of the bigger cities have officially sanctioned Carnival celebrations with decades of tradition (and official nicknames, like Bellinzona’s Rabadan), but many (most?) of the smaller villages (comuni) have their own.
Costumes, parades, revelry, eating and drinking in the streets… and confetti. Obviously: can’t have Carnevale without confetti (coriandoli, for my Italian speaking friends), right?
But! Something the Swiss are famous for is, instead, how precise and detail oriented and organized they are.
Well… let me show you how they sell Confetti…
…neatly packed in separate colours!
Now if you want to buy multiples and then mix them in a disorganized mess, suit yourself, but it’s out of our hands!
I’ve been living in Switzerland for three years now, and as an Italian immigrant I still find stuff that catches me off-guard. The fact I’m living in Ticino means there isn’t an immediate/constant feeling of being in a foreign country (we share the language… well, mostly).
But here and there the “swissness” (swissitude?) shows, and catches me by surprise, or makes me smile, or leaves me with this odd sensation of “strangeness”.
These posts started as a Collection on Google Plus, but since the platform is sadly closing soon, I’m moving them here. I will repost some here, to save them from oblivion, and add new ones.
It’s an amused and generally good natured (even when I make fun of the Swiss) look at my adoptive country, as seen by someone coming from outside.