La spalla fiorentina is an art form. And a finer example than this evening's political rally in which Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence welcomes Pier Luigi Bersani, candidate premier of the Democratic party, to our city is hard to remember or imagine.
For a start Bersani isn't even going to enter the city. If he comes by road he leaves the autostrada at Firenze Sud, turns left at the first set of traffic lights on the feeder road and into via Fabrizio Dè Andre. Where? I asked. Forgive me as a foreigner, but where? Varlungo. How do you get to Varlungo? No 14. It takes half an hour from the central station. Might I drive? There are a couple of hundred parking places along the feeder route out to the autostrada but they're bussing people in from all over Tuscany so there'll be a lot of tourist buses. (Angels wondered if anyone at all will be coming from Siena).
What time is this rally? Six o'clock. Six o'clock! It might as well be held at six o'clock in the morning. What about dinner, out there in the dark and cold? (It's a very pretty place to walk or cycle to along the banks of the Arno of a summer evening and have a pizza in the tented trattorie looking at the river, but it's February, for goodness sake.)
What's the matter with the Salone dei Cinquecento in the Palazzo Vecchio with big screens in piazza della Signoria for us hoi polloi? Or the opera house - they could get well over a thousand in there? Or the Fiorentina football stadium with all its transport links? (If he comes by train he doesn't come into the city either but leaves for the outskirts from the suburban station of Campo di Marte, but that would be handy for the Stadio.)
"We are demonstrating the power and cohesion of the Democratic Party," declared the secretary of the Florence PD.
" We are a united Democratic party facing the elections, and present ourselves to citizens as standing for the reconstruction of this country. Our Candidate Premier appearing on the same platform as Matteo Renzi is a very significant message," intoned the secretary of the Tuscan Democratic party.
Perhaps Bersani plans to do a walkabout in the city later, or even get some dinner, and have his piccy taken (he could do with a bit of cultural backdrop, or even any cultural input at all, though it looks as if it won't be willingly lent to him by Florence). Or perhaps he's frit.
La Nazione reports that this is the only joint political event by the two contenders for the Democratic party leadership scheduled for the elections. After this Matteo Renzi campaigns for his party, our party, but not with comrade Bersani and his local apparatchiks, and not in our city.