Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Grinch(ess) who Stole Christmas

Don't let the scenery fool you...
almost all of the Christmas stands in Rome's
idyllic Piazza Navona are filled with crummy
tchotchkes from the dollar store
Rome, currently in a veritable tsunami of scandals, has one more reason to be down and out.  Or at least, in some circles, that is.  Mayor Ignazio Marino's transparent administration decided this year to employ Best Practices and actually ask the market stall vendors to participate in a legal bid to sell the wares this holiday season.  Instead, thinking it was business as usual, they were a no-show.  And people are bemoaning this (potential) absence of their beloved 100-year holiday tradition.
But, for the rest of us who have ever spent time at a proper Christmas market (and you don't have to travel too far to find hot spiced wine and gorgeous handicrafts from Tuscany on over to the Dolomite area or Aosta), the news was truly joyous.  
It was as if the Grinch had come down off the Capitoline Hill himself, and, instead of weeping over our loss, we all joined hands in singing out the newfound Christmas spirit -- without the schlock.  It's as if this administration was going to take a stand against the creeping of Chinese capitalism right down to the lead-painted figurines and stuffed animals probably made from dogs hair thrown live into boiling vats of water.
So, here's a shout-out to one Dott.ssa Alfonsi -- the woman behind the attempt to regulate the Christmas marketplace.  Take a trip (on us, the taxpayers who pay your salary) and ride up to Bolzano.  Enjoy a nice hot pretzel with your hot wine.  And then, re-write a bid system that disallows any item that isn't crafted by hand in the Bel Paese [and I don't mean the hand of tiny Chinese children enslaved in sweat shops on the outskirts of Napoli].
Take a look:
This is what Christmas markets look like


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