World cup time. Being there on the night the moon turned red

This just in from the Wiley Traveler “our man” on the ground in Italy for complete World Cup reporting. It is like being there in person on the fun historic night. When the game started at 9:30 or so it was still more or less totally light out. Just like it was when the partying slowed and almost stopped when the sun came up over Umbria this morning! Yes, the photo below shows even the poor shlubs in Maine get the news.

la dolce vita and Wiley was there and got to share. Here’s her report:

Celebrating the World Cup in a small town in Italy, some well honed slightly controlled chaos We have a video link, JUST CLICK ON IT AND LET IT HAVE A MINUTE OR SO TO DOWNLOAD.

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I can’t believe Italy won, they won— and I just happened to be in Italy to see it— lo shock!
Heading down to the barretto to watch the game, aruging with my friend about who is going to hold the camera, it is big and slightly obtrusive and my argument is — she should hold it cause she’s from Panicale. Her argument is — I should hold it cause I’m not. But once down at the barretto the camera sharing begins as it is just after half time and the crowd is alternating between silence, boos, foosball, drink orders and raucous cheering. You can not hear much and can hardly see the TV so the crowds general vibe is the only way to glean what’s happening- AND THEN THEY WON- 5-3 in penalty shots! Tense, lovely jaw clenching penalty shots- AND ITALY WINS THE WORLD CUP 2006! All hell breaks loose – and my camera dies. My freshly charged, raring to go camera dies just as the first guy jumps in the small pool under the barretto followed by hoots and hollers and now six more people are in the water along with a few chairs. And everyone is laughing and hugging and taking their shirts off and waving the shirts and the flags and chanting. Some of the crowd running around with their heads cut off, others standing silently in a corner kissing a rolled up flag again and again.

Then I head off to charge my battery- I don’t want to miss much more of this- my father will kill me if I don’t have something to show for the win, so I run down the street waving to all the honking cars, the lights flashing. Children, arms, feet, flags and horns hanging out the windows. And then it turns 11 and the church bells begin to chime. It is loud, chaotic, bright and perfect.

I run into the house and try to call my family. They don’t know the score yet so they won’t answer the phone. (yes, that is them, celebrating back in Maine in the photo here on the left – the happy morning after) The entire, dark expanse of hills and streets from Panicale to Cortona is lit with cars flashing their lights. The view reverberating with a general rumble of celebration, punctuated with eruptions down the hill one minute, from the piazza the next, kids screaming – let loose and running through the streets. I can already see police lights flashing down below, but I honestly can’t tell if they’re celebrating or starting the heavy task of keeping this night in order.

Then back to the barretto to find my friends and on to Castiglione Del Lago and a concert on the lake. The concert is packed, with armchairs and coffee tables on the uneven, tree-filled patio. Frozen drinks and foccacia being sold, streams of people milling about on the sidewalk and of course a cars blazing by still honking and screaming every few minutes. The band is sort of reggae big band and it has everyone from babies on their parent’s shoulders to big white dogs on the dance floor. Fairy lights and big ’we are the champions’ smiles everywhere you turn.

At 4, when the concert ends, we drive back to Panicale- the moon is just this side of full, and it is red— not orange or reddish, but low in the sky and a deep, deep red. Two of the guys have been singing Ramones and The Clash and French cheers turned into Italian insults, then they start singing red army songs about the red moon and finish up with a few sleepy cheers. We have a nightcap of pasta with garlic and hot peppers and then at 5, we notice the red moon has gone and the sun is starting to draw the black from the sky. So we climb up the hill a little woozy and still a little in shock. And Italy won! ITALY WON! Buona notte, buon giorno, no lo so, ma — FORZA AZZURI! FORZA ITALIA! FORZA AZZURI! FORZA ITALIA! ITALIA E PRIMA IN MONDO! CIAMPIONI !!!!!!!!