Monday, 31 May 2010


Every torrid afternoon until the sunset, a lot of lisboetas cool themselves under the shadow of the Jardim Móvel das Oliveiras olive trees, enjoying the broad fluvial view from the old river port of Cais do Sodré, where the “oasis” is located (between the River Tejo and the bus terminus).
Each olive tree is placed inside a colored and movable base provided with armchair, which is useful for a single person or for two thin lovers.

Managers spending break time, fishermen, tourists and tired vagabonds: everybody likes this garden.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


It is not unusual, looking at supermarket shelves, to bump on so-called Italian foods whose labels awkwardly try to communicate an Italian flavour.
One can find, for example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa portrayed on a lasagne pack, Pulcinella greedily eating "gnocchi alla romana", or a Venetian gondola in the background of a photo depicting a frozen pizza with artichokes and papaya.
All these expedients are supposed to convey a home-made, typically Italian atmosphere in the interest of the supposedly unaware foreign shoppers.
Though us Italians living abroad were quite accustomed to that, the Portoguese company Pingo Doce succeeded in providing us with something better.

Well, I received last week an email from a colleague of mine, Matteo Naccari, who informed me, as well as other Italian guys, about the disquieting marketing operation attempted by the supermarkets chain Pingo Doce.
Naccari, who was not able to resist to the temptation given by a dish of fettuccine with pesto, bought this jar...

So much for the usual symbols of Italy, now it's time to be represented all around the world by the “Italian gestures”, which internationally afflict us, in this case the one meaning – more or less – “What's up?”.
That's not it. After having received Matteo's email, I bought too a couple of ready-to-cook sauces, whose Italianness one can tell by some gestures that I didn't know being marks of our people.
The first one, pictured on a jar of tomato and basil sauce, is the sign meaning “It's alright”.

The second one, associated to an unspeakable bolognese sauce, I don't know either what is supposed to mean, though I am afraid it suggests something like “Yes, these spaghetti are really well cooked”.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


If Sunday night he had not promulgated it, the legislative measure would have been discussed again by the Assembleia Nacional (the Portuguese Parliament), causing an exhausting “ping-pong” process between institutions.
So, right at the deadline day (20 days after the approval of the Constitutional Court), the President of the extra-catholic Portuguese Republic, the conservative Anibal Cavaco Silva, promulgated a law that allows gay marriage.
He justified his choice by saying that the country needs to maintain the social cohesion during this period, which is seeing Portugal involved in recession.
The only criticism Cavaco had (he is usually called “o Cavaco” by the people and the press) was that the political parties did not have the capacity to find a transversal compromise.
The legislative measure was approved in the last February by an unusual alliance between the Partido Socialista (PS), the Bloco de Esquerda (BE), the Partido Comunista Português (PCP) and the Partido Ecologista “Os Verdes” (PEV). The Centro Democrático Social - Partido Popular (CDS - PP) and the Partido Social Democrata (PSD) were unfavorable to the law.

The Joseph Ratzinger’s opinions about gay marriage (which he reaffirmed in the last week during his four-day visit in Portugal) remained unheard.

I don’t like comment on political news or report them, but considering that Italy is becoming more and more isolated in terms of civil rights, I was surprised when yesterday I noticed that the on-line editions of La Repubblica and of the Corriere della Sera (the two most important Italian newspapers) totally ignored this news.

Cavaco as appears in the photomontage of the yesterday edition of the newspaper Metro. He wears a rainbow-gay colored jacket while he is announcing to the country the promulgation of the law.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Among the old neighborhoods of Lisbon, Mouraria is the one which most proudly has resisted to modernity.
Because of the humidity in the alleys (becos in Portuguese), the structural weakness of the buildings, and the gloomy feel of petty crime, real estate speculation has been until now discouraged.
I noticed no intrusion of new, trendy clubs, except the spaghetti restaurant Cantina Baldracca.
There are only groceries run by Pakistan citizens, taverns and African restaurants.
Old people have an easy living in Mouraria: they liven up the streets and keep the spiritual supremacy of the old neighborhood alive.
Scottish artist Camilla Watson, in last September, dedicated to them Tributo, an exposition featuring 19 shots of aged habitantes, whose serigraphies cover the walls of Beco das Farinhas.
Here are some images...

Senhor Joaquim

Dona Amélia

Senhor Salgado

Dona Nazaré

Senhor Henrique

Senhor Carlos and José Moreira

Dona Adelaide

Dona Georgette, Senhor António and Dona Adelaide (detail)

Senhor Carlos and Dom Quixote

Monday, 17 May 2010


- “The Lisbon stock market fell 10 per cent over the past week”. Financial Times, 9/5/2010.
- “Immédiatement après l'annonce de Moody's, la Bourse de Lisbonne a enregistré une baisse brutale de 2,30 %”. Le Monde, 5/5/2010.
- “A seguito dell'annuncio di Standard & Poor's, la Borsa di Lisbona ha perso il 5,36%”. Il Sole 24 Ore, 27/4/2010.
- "Als Reaktion auf die Warnung von Moody's brach die Börse in Lissabon um 2,3 Prozent ein". Die Zeit, 5/5/2010.

Everybody talks about it, but I have been there.

Lisbon Stock Exchange, Rua Soeiro Pereira Gomes.

E sti cazzi (1).

The sky over Lisbon starts again, welcome back.

(1) Sti cazzi is a regional expression of indifference and surprise used in the centre of Italy, especially in Rome.

P.S. In the Italian version of this website (Il cielo sopra Lisbona), I have already published almost 150 posts about Lisbon. I will try to translate them soon. Anyway, enjoy the pictures!