La Notte di San Lorenzo – The Night of the Shooting Stars

August 10 is officially known in Italy as la notte di San Lorenzo or the Night of the Shooting Stars. This is because, apparently, tonight if there were clear skies, one could see many shooting stars. I always thought this was very poetic but somewhat of a myth. Until I went sailing in the Mediterranean some years ago on August 10. I saw tens of shooting stars and it was indeed magical. I have no idea why this is the case, from a scientific point of view, but effectively everyone in Italy looks to the sky on this evening to make a wish on a shooting star.

There is also a very famous movie called the Night of the Shooting Stars by the Taviani Brothers. I love that movie and most that have to do with World War II.

Recently I had the pleasure of translating for Giovanni Taviani, the daughter of one of the brothers, at an event hosted by I-Italy in New York. She runs a great documentary film festival in Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. Salina is a magical place and Giovanna, a fascinating woman.

Salina is the island where Il Postino was filmed, that wonderful film with Philippe Noiret and Massimo Troisi about Pablo Neruda. Salina also has the best granitas, especially the one made from Almond milk or latte delle mandorle. I went sailing around those islands and am a very big fan despite having encountered 100 knot winds….yes 100 knots.

I wish I could go to the festival that starts on September 12 but I think it may have to wait until next year. Giovanna’s own film was very interesting and I hope she gets to show it to a wider audience in the United States. I’ll be looking up at the sky tonight. Remember you can make a wish on every star you see, as many times as you want. Sounds like a good deal to me.

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