Postcards from Procida and Malta

, by Lea Fontaine, Translated by Lorène Weber, Valter Cassar

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Postcards from Procida and Malta

This summer, you can read our French sister edition Le Taurillon’s summer print version edited for JEF-France’s Europe En Vacances project. It’s an occasion to get readers to travel around with the help of postcards. Today’s postcards come from Procida and Malta!

Procida, sun and fries

Finding the right words to describe the grace and peace of this island is difficult. More modest than its sisters Capri and Ischia, more intimate, but still (or maybe precisely because of that) breathtakingly beautiful, Procida seems like emerging out of a dream, both clear and surreal.

One of those places that brings one plenitude and peacefulness at each breath. Maybe because, over there, one almost feels like Pablo Neruda, looking for some peace, in Il Postino (The Postman) of Massimo Troisi [1]. One can really feel like a postman, willing to explore the island, feeling like home like him. Or one can feel a little like Arturo, under the burning sun, on the traces of Elsa Morante [2], who had the words, even though finding them is difficult, to describe the charm and quietness of this island:

“But no, even in the summer, on the contrary, she would have come back, inevitably. One cannot kill it, it is an invulnerable dragon which always comes alive again, with her wonderful childhood. And this terrible jealousy filled me with the bitterness to think of the island impassioned by the summer, but without me!” (Arturo’s Island) [3]

Lea Fontaine

The vibrant Maltese “festas”

One thing that surprises the travellers arriving in Malta is the fact that such a small country is composed of more than a hundred towns. Connected with ancient Catholic traditions, each town has its own patron saint with his annual festa, generally celebrated during the summer. Today, village festas go along with Maltese fireworks, emblematic of different villages, that can be heard and seen everywhere on summer days.

In many Maltese towns, one patron saint is often not enough… What makes village festas even more enthralling is the rivalry that exists between the local clubs that display their own fireworks, decorations, flags, and above all supporters in groups wearing uniforms, and singing their hymns. Villages like Hamrun and Barabbar are well-known for having perfected this art, and anyone looking for an abundance of Mediterranean colours, songs and beers, looking like energy will never be lacking, would be delighted to lose themselves in their festivities. It is not surprising that the enthusiasts spend the whole year to get prepared for their local annual festa, because these celebrations create the most joyful, vibrant and authentic popular atmosphere that one can hope for.

Valter Cassar

Keywords

Footnotes

[1Il Postino is a 1994 Italian film directed by Massimo Troisi, telling the fictional story of the relationship between the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and a postman who learns to love poetry

[2Translator’s note: Elsa Morante was an Italian novellist, author of the novel L’isola di Arturo (Arturo’s Island) and La storia (History)

[3Translator’s note: this quote is directly translated from the French extract, and is not the published translation of L’isola di Arturo.

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