Here's what Identità on the road is like

Travelling from one end of Italy to the other is the secret of an online edition with the same thrill I had when I travelled for the Ski World Cup. With me, today, Passera and Zanatta

06-11-2020
Paolo Marchi on the terrace of the parking of Li

Paolo Marchi on the terrace of the parking of Lido 84, the restaurant of Riccardo and Giancarlo Camanini in Gardone Riviera (Brescia)

Few people can understand my pleasure, and the strength I'm getting from the sudden Identità on the road, from one end of Italy to the other, a country once again hit by Covid and once again in distress. I'm proud of the commitment that all of us at Identità are putting in our new idea, which is also a challenge because everything is new and designed in a short amount of time.

Identità on the roads of Italy is the concrete response to the obligation of doing without the in-person congress, which was scheduled from the 24th to the 26th of October, from Saturday to Monday. Out of the schedule designed first for March, then for July and finally for October 2020 we extracted over 60 lessons, two third of which were held at our location in Milan. Hence two thirds of the speakers travelled to Milan, while we travelled to the other third. When I use the word "we", I refer also to Carlo Passera and Gabriele Zanatta.

Renato Bosco, Saporè in San Martino Buon Albergo (Verona)

Renato BoscoSaporè in San Martino Buon Albergo (Verona)

Everyone is asking me if I'm bothered. Quite the contrary. I feel younger. I left from Milan on Tuesday 27th, and it feels like a month already, as my days have been so intense since that day. Then the return to Milan on the 3rd. Putting aside the new government's measures, we have collected all we needed and the countdown has begun until everything goes online as of the 16th of November.

One of the windows of Anthony Genovese's Pagliaccio in Rome

One of the windows of Anthony Genovese's Pagliaccio in Rome

I believe the furthest location we reached from Milan was the line that joins Caiazzo for Franco Pepe, Caserta for Francesco Martucci and Castel di Sangro for Niko Romito. The closest was Brusaporto, little after Bergamo, for Chicco Cerea. The most difficult journey came as a bit of a surprise: by train, on the 29th, between Verona and Bologna, where I then took a Frecciarossa connection for Rome. It was difficult because I took a regionale veloce [a fast regional train] where the word veloce sounds like they're pulling your leg. And then the wagons were old, empty, full of sun and heat. One and a half hour for some 150 km. Trenitalia should apologise each day to its commuters.

Sunset in Caiazzo on the 29th of October 2020; below, sunset in Caserta on the 30th, on the road between Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci

Sunset in Caiazzo on the 29th of October 2020; below, sunset in Caserta on the 30th, on the road between Franco Pepe and Francesco Martucci

I love this version of Identità on the road. It takes me back to twenty years ago, when I worked for Il Giornale and nobody would have imagined that in the new century internet and television would have heavily reduced the importance of the press, and changed the very way we follow sport events. For those who like me followed most of all football and skiing, work trips were a long-life elixir. 

Arriving at night at Casadonna in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila) on the 30th October

Arriving at night at Casadonna in Castel di Sangro (L'Aquila) on the 30th October

It wasn't like following a football team, when you would use a means on transport depending on where they were playing, be it aeroplane, train or car. In that sense the best location, culinary speaking, was always Naples because you usually stopped from Saturday to Monday and your palate was pleased. Milan was convenient only because you could relax at home.

The Adriatic Sea and the beach in front of Madonnina del pescatore in Marzocca, Senigallia

The Adriatic Sea and the beach in front of Madonnina del pescatore in Marzocca, Senigallia

I loved my trips to follow the Ski World Cup (and I loved skiing too, let's make it clear) because I could drive along the Alpine arch and stop in extraordinary places, see corners of France and Switzerland, Austria and Italy, Slovenia and Bavaria that I would have not visited as a tourist. And then there were some special treats like a World Cup in Granada, Spain, where from the Sierra Nevada, on a clear sunny day, you could get a glimpse of the African coast on the horizon. Or the events in Scandinavia, with very few hours of sun and temperatures that were never close to zero, always below. And so on.

Paolo Brunelli in Identità on the road

Paolo Brunelli in Identità on the road

Journalists who covered winter sports were regularly teased by their colleagues because they enjoyed competitions that lasted a few minutes, an hour, and that was it. Nobody understood what it meant to deal with the weather, with crossing the Alps, driving at night on icy roads, arriving in places where everyone dined at six and perhaps you got there late and had to find the place where the organisers had booked for you. It was like a treasure hunt.

Iginio Ventura at Identità on the road, guest of Paolo Brunelli in Senigallia

Iginio Ventura at Identità on the road, guest of Paolo Brunelli in Senigallia

I've always treasured the advice of an older colleague: «Paolino, remember that in the mountains you know when you're leaving, but never when you'll be arriving». So true. Unforeseen events where always round the corner, this was also because you never left early, but when it was already dark and you easily found yourself in incredibly long queues. For instance: in Austria at the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbuhel, with the descent on the Saturday and the slalom on the Sunday. It's the sport event of the year. Leaving the pearl of Tyrol is not like leaving the parking lot of a shopping centre.

Luca Abbadir and Moreno Cedroni in the Tunnel, the creative laboratory of Madonnina del pescatore

Luca Abbadir and Moreno Cedroni in the Tunnel, the creative laboratory of Madonnina del pescatore

Another example: Tuesday, two days later, giant slalom in Adelboden in Switzerland, some 600 km away that I'd split in two, out of necessity and out of pleasure because my food lover side was always lurking, ready to book where the dinner would not disappoint anyone. In that case in Liechtenstein because it's more or less halfway.

These travels, following Tomba or its equivalent, the cold outdoors, waiting for the rehearsals, the colleague who asked you for a lift and is really slow at writing and you wait though you're ready, those were moments that the editorial teams didn't know and so they didn't understand. And then it happened that some of them were assigned a more colourful piece, and with Tomba this was almost always the case. And what a discovery! They realised that it was much more than a one-hour race. And we, who were regulars in the snow circus, exchanged mocking smiles. Identità on the road has made those dormant memories alive once more.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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