2 settembre 2022
by Ivana Pisciotta

 Summer Mon Amour, What Will Remain


There is an atmosphere of desire for lightheartedness, as Fedez sings with Tannai and Mara Sattei in La Dolce Vita, one of this summer’s hits. To understand this season’s exuberance, it’s enough to think back to the glum situation two years ago, and take a look at the record tourism figures. You can also take a glance into the windows of the stores in any holiday resort, where fluorescent colors are the new must among the very young (and the not so very young). The watchword for this summer that is now drawing to a close, is to have fun at all levels, at all ages, on the beach or in the mountains, or discovering new places. The important thing is to put two years of the pandemic behind you, and try to set aside (even if only for a short time) thoughts of the horrors and financial repercussions of the war in Ukraine.

The prevailing feeling is something else entirely: looking at life with optimism, moving, not missing a concert, diving into the sea, sipping a cocktail, with the spirit of 'the more, the merrier

There are underlying concerns over the imminent new variants—the latest in chronological order is Centaurus (the name says it all)—and for the skyrocketing energy prices that suggest that staying warm in the coming months will be a real luxury. But the prevailing feeling is something else entirely: looking at life with optimism, moving, not missing a concert, diving into the sea, sipping a cocktail, with the spirit of 'the more, the merrier.' Face masks are a memory, worn on the wrist but unused by the many passengers who hurry through the stations, airports and ports, boarding the next transport that will take them who knows where. Only a few people still wear the ‘protective devices’, as they are called, and we are timidly reminded by the warning signs that remain affixed in transit zones: the very cautious few whose desire or need to travel outweighs their fear of the virus. 

And although there is essentially a climate of tolerance in the queues waiting to board, the quarrels between strangers are minor spats in which the strict mask-wearers scold those who have instead abandoned the habit. I myself was harshly addressed, to put it mildly, by my neighbor on the plane, because I wasn't wearing a face mask. But the unfortunate woman was mocked by all the onlookers, even before I could argue back. In short, the concept that reigns supreme, as regards COVID-19, is this: we are all responsible; if you don’t have any symptoms, you’re free to do as you please.

There are choruses on the beach, and the first of the season was Jovanotti with his Jova Beach tour: thousands and thousands of people on the shore danced happy and carefree to the notes of I Love You Baby, another catchy hit together with, ça va sans dire, No Stress by Marco Mengoni. The music of these hits is inspired by sixties disco, to be sung in the car at the top of your lungs on the way to the beach, perhaps to flaunt your incredible figure (“What?” goes the typical gag by the resort entertainers, “You haven't got back into shape yet after the lockdown binges?!”) or to show off your latest tattoo.

Talking of tattoos: this summer, small designs are considered totally out, whereas there is a massive attraction to the full forearm or colorful back artwork. Piercings, on the other hand, are a no no: aficionados are often looked upon with suspicion. And black or blue swimwear is a thing of the past: on the beach, it's all about bright colors, as we said at the start, among which the most popular is the apple green which, as one influencer explains, has the benefit of showing off your tan.

People have started traveling again

And talking of the beach, the most popular summer reads this year are detective novels such as the latest by Joël Dicker, The Alaska Sanders Affair—with the author already a hit in previous summers with The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair—or dark stories, such as Asylum by Patrick Mc Grath, and compelling sagas, such as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara or even timeless classics like The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. People have started traveling again, and we dream of distant and exotic countries as suggested by the sales of Japanese novels such as the trilogy As long as the coffee is hot by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. The important thing is to have fun, but the nostalgia for the past—not just pre-pandemic but even further back—is significant. So, it’s straight to the bar with eighties cocktails—from Cosmopolitan to Cuba Libre—without forgetting the ever-fashionable Caipirinha and the ubiquitous Mojito, reminiscent of iconic beach locations in Brazil and Cuba.

But prosecco and spritz remain two timeless classics: even abroad, they are now synonymous with the Italian-style aperitif. But summer is more than just about the beach: it is also, and above all, the desire for new discoveries. And the younger generations have rediscovered the habits of the older: camping remains of limited popularity, while there is a revival of Interrail, which enjoyed huge success year, in part due to the huge mess-up by the airlines in early June and the hike in fuel prices that put people off flying.

And, while road trips became unlikely due to the costs, young people satisfy their energetic curiosity by traveling by train, 'armed' with a sleeping bag or booking a youth hostel (this year back to full capacity). European destinations were thus more within reach. “Summer is ending,” went a song from a few decades ago, and now they sing it too. But it is not a chorus of sadness; we already said that this year was the summer of lightheartedness. Autumn is upon us, and even with the change of government, it is not going to be easy or predictable. Speaking of elections: the election campaign was certainly discussed among vacationers but not as much as we imagined a month ago. This is a sign that, at least for a few days or weeks, thoughts were turned elsewhere: in particular, explain the teachers of mindfulness, the most popular meditation practice of the year, to the “present moment.” As if to say: let's enjoy it all, while we can.


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