Joy in Lecce

It was an unexpected celebration.  First there was just a small crowd with flags and red and yellow shirts in the town piazza.  A few hours later, the city erupted.  Lecce’s football club had just won their league and earned promotion to the Italian premier league, Serie A.  Next season they face the likes of Inter Milan and Roma.  But for today it was all about the celebration.  Cars of every possible make and model were circling the city with the yellow and black checkered flag streaming from their windows, horns blasting.  The streets became one big parade, and it was impossible not to get caught up in the excitement.  So many people were on the streets that at first I thought that the game had to be in town – then I figured out what had happened.  This was no case of young hooligans going crazy (though the police were ready) – it was an all ages party, with plenty of families in the Lecce colors and right in the midst of it.  This city will be ready for the Italians to do well in South Africa.

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