Yesterday was Sanremo Pride, the first ever in this area. Sanremo has a population of just over 50,000, so not a large place, but it's lively and is famous for its music festival and for being the City of Flowers since much of the cut flower market is supplied from here. So when estimates of 1000-3000 people turn up for Pride, that's quite a success. So much so that the march was halted part way as all those people wouldn't have fitted into the main square, which was supposed to be the final destination. I suspect the car rally going on and the Palm Sunday preparations (little old ladies wandering about with sacks of palm fronds*) probably made the police feel there was enough chaos going on for one weekend!
My photos are not that great (it's hard to capture crowds from within) but here's one from the start of the event by the old fort.
There are people from all hues of the LGBT spectrum. The organisers posted this last night. (Presumably their photographer is 12 feet tall!)
This photo reminds me of Canal Street in Manchester, UK, during the annual Sparkle trans event.
I tried taking an 'atmospheric' photo of the event from across the harbour but the flags are a bit lost in the distance. Still, it places it in context.
There are no photos of me as I wasn't properly 'me'. I dress androgynously these days but, after some years of health problems, isolation and pandemic chaos, I have lost a lot of confidence, as I said last week when talking of Transgender Day of Visibility. I need to feel less 'ugly', regain some mojo, if you know what I mean. So I felt a bit on the periphery. Still, it was right to go and I'm glad I did.
My way home happened to pass the prize giving for the Sanremo Rally, so here are some photos that have nothing to do with Pride!
As well as trophies, winners (male and female) get a bunch of fresh local cut flowers (which they've placed on the roofs of their vehicles here). Nice to see the car at the front (3rd place) has a female navigator (Giorgia Ascalone) - it's not just a sport for boys. Who says girls can't navigate?
|And the prize for the most glamorous TGirl goes to ...|
All in all, it was a good afternoon.
*Palm Sunday - a bit of history
Palm Sunday is important in the area, too, as the palms for the Vatican are grown here. Down the road at Bordighera there is date palm grove, the northenmost naturally seeded stand of them. They grow this far north because of the unusually mild climate. The Vatican gets its palm fronds from here because of an incident in Rome in the sixteenth century.
The obelisk in St Peter's Square, originally from Egypt and then set up in ancient Rome, was placed as the centrepiece of the square in 1586. The occasion was deemed by the pope to be so solemn that he forbade any of the workmen to talk whilst it was hoisted into position, on pain of death. As the lifting progressed, one of the foremen, Benedetto Bresca, a ship's captain from Sanremo, noticed the ropes overheating from friction and cried out "water on the ropes!" He was arrested but the architect acknowledged that it was only his intervention that had saved the obelisk from falling and smashing because the ropes were on the point of burning. So the pope, instead of executing him as threatened, rewarded him with the right to supply palms for Palm Sunday from his local area.
There is a pretty little square in the centre of Sanremo named after him (Piazza Bresca). It's free of traffic and has a fountain in the middle with an obelisk recalling the event.
Today, then, the Bishop of Sanremo-Ventimiglia, who is a real homophobe, was thankfully too busy overseeing palm distribution to disturb the Pride event.
A dip in the archives
My last pride event was in London back in 2018, quite a while ago now (thanks Covid!). Here's my write-up of the day, which I went to with a gay friend and another transwoman.
Link: London Pride 2018