Celebrating the Fourth of July in Italy

Quite a few people have asked me over the years whether Italians celebrate the Fourth of July. The simple answer is no, as Italians don’t particularly care when the United States became an independent nation.

But chances are if you find an American on July 4th, you’ll at least find some kind of cookout around. Most of the Americans in Italy I know still find a way to celebrate — and many of us also wear our American flag t-shirts as well (myself included). P.S. Those stylin’ nails in the photo are *not* mine, but those of Dreamgirl Pumpkincat210 on Flickr.

Yesterday was actually a festa in the village (Madonna della Provvidenza) so we ended up even having fireworks, which we watched from our house; every year this celebration is held the first weekend of July, so I’m always guaranteed fireworks around the 4th. Funny how things work out.

Before the fireworks, though, yesterday morning, P and I went up into the campagna (the land we just bought in the country — yes it’s final now!), and had our own little feast with grilled chicken, salad, baked beans, suppressata, and pecorino. Quite appropriately a mix of American and Italian, I suppose. Ah, and fresh figs from one of trees for dessert:

Truth be told, though, while P prepared, I spent a lot of time either reading David Farley’s An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town on my iPod Touch (Farley will be our guest on the Eye on Italy podcast this week!) or just staring off into space while sitting here:

Last week was quite stressful for me with all the Amanda Knox-related posts, and if you haven’t noticed, I’ve now turned comments off on them. I wanted to start this week stress-free and get back to focusing on my life and the people, animals, and few objects I’ve chosen to surround myself with.

I do appreciate that there are horrible events in the world every day, but many years ago I stopped watching the news because it’s too easy for me to get emotionally involved in all the bad — there is *so* much bad — and that just isn’t good for me. I still like to think I stay well-informed by picking and choosing what to read, and I lend my support to causes I truly believe in, but I just can’t let in all that negative and still live a happy life.

Perhaps that’s selfish, but it’s the best — and only — method of self-preservation I know.

Thanks to everyone who read and commented last week; hopefully some of the newcomers will stick around, but if it’s just the “regulars” here, that’s cool too. You’re the best regulars around.

And now, gratuitous kitty photo entitled “iz reddee 4 mah closeup” just because:

Have a great week!

21 Beans of Wisdom to “Celebrating the Fourth of July in Italy”
  1. 07.05.2010

    Sounds like you and P had a great 4th of July. Even though I didn’t get my cookout.. I at least got to have some watermelon and it was delicious and… dressed the baby in some Red,White & Blue!

    (ps.. congrats on the purchase of land!!)

    Thanks, and woohoo on the red, white, and blue! We should plan a huge expat 4th of July party one of these years….

  2. Hannah

    Thank you for explaining what all the fireworks were about yesterday. I just recently moved to Nola outside Naples and we have fireworks every night. But yesterday was different with a parade of people walking to the hospital with a marching band. I enjoy you blog and will become a frequent visitor.

    Thanks Hannah! Actually I’m not sure what *your* fireworks were about in Nola; some celebrations are country-wide, but not this one, so they might have been celebrating something else entirely. Or it could’ve been the same Madonna! I really don’t know. But YES, fireworks are ridiculously common in southern Italy throughout the summer (IMHO) πŸ˜‰

  3. 07.05.2010

    Hi Michelle, I am just wondering why Italians would celebrate 4th July, not unless you have an American connection, through marriage or family. But I do think it is great .. and should be done.

    We do not celebrate Saint George’s day April 23rd … .. and even if we wanted to , we are stopped because of Political Correctness…. upsetting the immigrants .. and whoever else!!

    Italians have lots and lots of celebrations, and so does Malta, which is where my fathers family came from πŸ™‚ so great for you that there was a Festa yesterday too, and fireworks provided for you πŸ™‚ so much fun.

    That’s just it, Anne; Italians *wouldn’t* celebrate the 4th. I think some Americans just say it without thinking about the significance of the day — and how it wouldn’t have that significance throughout the world.

  4. 07.05.2010

    Hey Michelle, glad to hear you got a chance to relax in the countryside yesterday. I thought I was the only person who stopped watching the TV news years ago. I just couldn’t take all the violence and tragedy being thrown in my face the way a newscast does. At least when you read your news you can filter how much and how bad you are up to dealing with at any particular moment. People scold me for not watching the news, but I consider my choice a form of stress management! πŸ˜‰

    Yes, “filter” is exactly it; it’s not that I never deal with bad news, but I just like to do it on my own time schedule πŸ™‚ Many years ago when I lived in Philadelphia, my landlord told me that he and his wife had stopped watching the news, and I thought it was crazy although they *did* seem awfully calm all the time…ten years later, and I see how right they were πŸ˜‰

  5. 07.05.2010

    Congrats on the purchase! Sounds and looks absolutely divvy.

    Thanks Nino! I’m enjoying it — P is doing most of the hard work πŸ˜‰

  6. 07.05.2010

    It is good to read this much more upbeat and relaxed type post from you again Michelle after all the effort you have put into the Blog recently! We met up with Bill and Carol yesterday for the first time which was fun, great couple, which you already know of course.

    How fun! I’m sure you had a great time together; wish I had been there too!

  7. Rebekah

    Hi Michelle, I discovered your website through my Google alert for AK. But I do believe I will “stick around” for a bit! I do like your blog.

    Yay! A keeper! Haha…thanks so much Rebekah πŸ™‚

  8. Turid

    Oh that hammock… I can see a life being spent in and around it. Lovely. Congratulations on your campagna! It’s so enriching.

    Thanks Turid; I’m looking forward to the olive harvest this year πŸ™‚

  9. Lynn

    Hello Michelle,
    Haven’t visited your blog in some time – this morning your post on the 4th of July showed up on my Facebook home page. Love the beautiful photo of fresh figs – and I wish I could transport myself into a hammock like that and take in such a beautiful view…

    Thanks for coming by, Lynn; I wish you can transport yourself too…I have some espresso just brewed!

  10. Trina

    I was stressed out for you last week. πŸ™‚ I am glad you got to celebrate the 4th and just relax. That hammock looks awfully inviting. πŸ™‚

    It’s way more comfy than I ever thought possible, Trina…so happy P convinced me we needed them πŸ™‚

  11. 07.05.2010

    Belated Happy 4th – sounds like you guys had a great time – and figs … oh my god the figs. I love this time of year for so many reasons but figs are up there in the top 10.


    I have to agree with you, Willym πŸ˜€

  12. 07.05.2010

    Ciao, Michelle! I’m glad you had an enjoyable weekend in Italia! I, like you, stopped watching the news a few years back. I sometimes think it may be selfish, but I agree – you have to pick and choose what you read, in which causes you want to invest emotion, etc. I’m in America for the summer – and it’s harder not to get caught up in it. However, I’ve been burying myself in language studies, books, music, and movies. Mostly Italian, some French now (long story) but it keeps me warm, smiling, and ridiculously positive. You get it, my dear. Spero che tu abbia una buona settimana!

    Grazie Valerie! Anche a te πŸ™‚ Good luck with your studies!

  13. 07.06.2010

    Aww, what a cute kitty! Your little reading spot looks very relaxing. I’m happy to hear that you get to see fireworks on the 4th of July. I must admit, I did not read the Amanda blog post, so I have nothing to say as far as that is concerned. However, I do completely understand your take on the news and negativity in the world. I also chose to stop watching the news in order to keep myself happy and sane. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and it really is one of my most favorite reads on the internet πŸ™‚ Have a great week…and congrats on the new place!

    Thanks so much, Lynda! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone with the news thing πŸ™‚

  14. can I have a fig? Our fig trees (here in Seattle) look like they are about to give up on EVER having a warm summer day again. Complete with threats to drop all fruit before it ripens!

    Enjoy !

    You need to have a stern talk with that tree! Our biggest threat here are the birds….

  15. 07.06.2010

    Thanks for this wonderful post-the pics and the sentiment are what summer is all about. BTW, I have not owned a television in 20 years, so I can relate to conscious choices about news and information. That hammock is so inviting!

    We have a TV but it’s not on very often…increasingly less indeed. I tend to watch things I really want to see on the Internet anyway πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by!

  16. Gil

    Glad you had a great 4th! That kitten looks so serious. Then again it is most likely the good photographer.

    Gil, he’s so easy to photograph…always posing πŸ˜‰

  17. 07.07.2010

    Ciao Michelle

    We arrived in New York on the 3rd for Grantourismo, however, we were surprised at how little there was going on – most shops were closed, streets were quiet. I think everyone was at the beach! Apart from the fireworks of course though we couldn’t see them from the East Village. I think we were expecting a parade or something, but that’s Thanksgiving, right? It’s interesting being in New York – first time in 17 years! – though missing Italy and Europe terribly. Cute cat!

    Haha yes, for Thanksgiving there’s a huge parade in NYC; for the most part, city dwellers head to the beach for the 4th πŸ™‚

  18. 07.07.2010

    That look like it was fun and the kitty is soo damned cute. ahhhhh.

    Thanks πŸ˜€

  19. 07.08.2010

    I Luvz youz newz cat Michelle!!!

    Thx πŸ˜‰

  20. 07.26.2010

    Congrats on your land…wonderful accomplishment! and love the kitty…so cute! Huggies to your other babies…..he he! xoxo

    Thanks Pam! They love huggies, as you well know πŸ˜‰

  21. 07.06.2011

    Auguri on finalising your dream! Give me a day in campagna, forget about the beach.
    There are so many beautiful things in your post: the beauty and tranquillity of your piece of campagna, the lovely food, the inviting hammock, the lovely photo of your kitten, a poser but yet seeming so fragile.
    I completely agree with you on selective reading and watching of bad news. It cannot do you any good absorbing all the negative stuff and not be affected by it.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ti auguro una bella giornata

    Thanks so much for commenting, Barbara, and buona giornata anche a te!

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake