Monday, August 3, 2009

Word of the week- esodo

Our word of the week is very timely- esodo (EH-zoh-doh). Its literal sense is "Exodus," from the Old Testament book. The derived meaning refers to any mass movement of people. It is most often used in the Italian media for the extremely heavy traffic occurring toward the end of July and beginning of August. The congestion which takes place when vacations are over toward the end of the month is called the contro-esodo. Nobody can really cope with these, not even Charlton Heston/Moses.
For years the Italians have tried to promote the concept of "smart departures," whereby vacations and travel time are staggered. This has met with limited success due mostly to the conformity of the population which absolutely believes that you shouldn't be caught dead in town in mid-August. As a result of this, many things are closed in this period. In all my years in Italy, I never took a vacation in August. Avoid it if you can; if you can't, plan carefully.

Even the new Venice/Mestre bypass has run into trouble. This past weekend there were lines of 20+ miles (over 30 kilometers). There is now talk of a class action by those whose not-so-smart departure was further ruined.