Amarcord di Pontida, when Bossi was in charge and Salvini was a young Padano

In 2005, on his return from illness, a 17,000 square meter flag, bagpipes and Vikings welcomed him. At that time we were fighting against the euro and for Padania

The Northern League founding rite has not been celebrated in Pontida for three yearsthree years since the 20 thousand square meters of the “sacred meadow”, that is, that large clearing of grass and mud on the Statale 332 bought by the Lega in 2000 for 2 billion and 750 million, do not host the moods of the Po people. “PadanoIn reality it is an obsolete adjective, as the party can no longer be called Carrocciobecause the Northern League no longer exists, supplanted by the “Lega Salvini premier” And Alberto da Giussano, leader of the battle of Legnano is a faded memory. Three years but it seems like a century has passed since Pontida was the epicenter of every Northern League battle. And the absence of Umberto Bossiperhaps, it is not only due to health reasons.

The first meeting canceled

atoafter the first of May 19, 1990, it was a sort of mourning for the Movement. Umberto Bossi had been ill that had knocked him out. There had been a trembling apparition, a Luganofrom the balcony of Cattaneo’s house, with his wife Manuela and the young hope at his side Renzo. A boy had sent a clod of earth home to him: “If the Senatur does not go to Pontida, Pontida goes to the Senatùr“. His return in 2005 was properly celebrated. Bossi made an inspection and sat on a bench, gave instructions to uproot locust trees and clean up the lawn. Those were the years of the battles against the euro, for the return to the lira. “A country without a currency is a country without an identityThundered Bossi. On 19 June, eighty thousand arrived, with 170 buses. A group of daredevils who left Legnano travel 80 kilometers by bike to greet the Senatùr. There is a flag of 17 thousand meters square

you. And there is also, as always, Matteo Salviniwho launches into predictions that are not exactly spot on: «They have all seen that Europe is a roof without foundations and that at the first breath of wind it flies away».

It is no longer Umberto who harangued the crowd with kilometer speeches based on Enlightenment and Counter-Reformation, the one who at five in the morning threw himself into gargantuan dinners, dipping the fries in the CokeCo

there. But the spirit is the same as always: “How does a Europe that proposes pedophilia last?“. And never mind if no one has ever proposed anything like this in Brussels, what counts is the decisive attitude, the rough joke, the cigar always alert.

Pontida’s editions follow one another always the same and always different, with a rich folkloristic set that Eric Hobsbawm would define «the invention of tradition“. Asturian bagpipers, the Orobic chansonnier Bepi, Celtic Vikings, Miss Green Shirts parade among sparrow-beaked helmets, habilis and swords. In 2000 the Order of Bas

ilisco, an association of medieval re-enactment convened by the leaguers, deploys a series of figures covered in heavy armor, chain mail with iron rings, and the camaglio, the net that wraps the head. That year we ask one of them, a puddle of sweat, what he thinks of the League, he replies with shock: “I vote on the left.”

Pontida celebrates the Municipalities that in 1167 united in the Lombard League to fight against the tyrant, Federico Barbarossa, then the subject of a kitsch series shot by the pro-Po director of Cesano Maderno Renzo Martinelli, financed with public money (not the elusive Northern League lira, but the hated euro). On the lawn rise 12 meter high towers, close to 30 meter long stages, with the reproduction of Alberto Da Giussano and large sails with the Sun of the Alps. Salvini and the young Padani practice with the Celtic games, from tug-of-war to stone throwing. In 2008 Roberto Calderoli he complains, perhaps ironically, that he did not become deputy premier because “I was walking around in Bermuda shorts and without socks”. On the pratone Indians from Como parade, signs with El ghè (parody T-shirt in Milanese of Guevara-Bossi smoking a cigar) and the inevitable “Padania is not Italy”. In 2008 the Senatùr, in the general jubilation, to a woman who displays the flag, in Venice, shouts: “Throw the tricolor in the toilet, ma’am“.

In Pontida the most applauded by the crowd, the one who manly warms the spirits at the beginning of the rally, is Mario Borghezio. The hoarse but powerful voice, the irresistible climax. At each appointment, he summarizes the League’s program: “Shit faces! Clandestines, Moroccans and Muslims out of my balls!“. At that time Salvini distributed t-shirts to journalists with the words: “Milan works, Roma magna, Naples shoots“. In 2009, fresh from his election to the European Parliament, he is filmed in a video while, on the eve of the rallies, he participates with the other young people in a light-hearted chorus: “Feel that it stinks, even the dogs are running away, the Neapolitans are coming. O cholerosis, earthquake victims, you have never washed with soap ».

Sins of youth, Salvini has grown, he has ousted Umberto, even if it continues to pay him due respect for history and for the small pool of votes that it still guarantees. The boss is now he, the “CaptainEven if he sent the requests of Padania to the fore and did not preserve the choreographic apparatus of Umberto. To say, we no longer have news of the mythical rite of the ampoule. The same year of his return to Pontida, Bossi returned to the Monviso, at the mouth of the Po. It is September 17, 2005, the eve of the event, and Bossi is unable to sleep, perhaps weighed down by platter of polenta and chamois washed down with bitter orange soda. So at midnight he shows up in his pajamas and stays with the other leaguers until late at night, singing traditional Piedmontese songs and revisited Belle Ciao (with Alberto da Giussano in the role of liberator of the invaders).

In the morning, Bossi shows up on time for the «appointment with history». Equipped with fleece sweater and “Construction company-Sport Padano” jacketwalks along the wooden walkway that leads to the sources of the Po, crouches down slowly and with a little help from Minister Calderoli collects the purest water in a Nordic ampoule. It is the beginning of the ritual which will then end with the pouring of the precious liquid from the green Po Valley case at the mouth of the Po, in the Venetian lagoon. The identity rites of the North have been lost, the many battles that inflamed the people of the pratone have been watered down by years of governments and compromises, turns and changes of pace. The Lega is no longer the Po Valleyeven if he remains autonomist, he is no longer “either on the right or on the left”, but decidedly on the right, he no longer takes it out on the “southerners”, but on the illegal immigrants. Anti-Europeanism, on the other hand, remains in the DNA. The euro is no longer up for discussion, but who knows.

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Amarcord di Pontida, when Bossi was in charge and Salvini was a young Padano