KShortly before the end of the election campaign, Giorgia Meloni posted a video on Facebook showing her making tortellini. She is standing in a fresh pasta shop in Bologna and is demonstrating what Patrizia, the boss, has just taught her: “You close the dough, you press a little, you put the dumpling around your index finger, wipe it off – that’s it! Big smile and thumbs up at the camera, nails painted red, mouth painted red, black sunglasses in her hair – welcome to the world of Giorgia Meloni.
Barely 24 hours later, the woman, who is likely to be elected the country’s first female prime minister on Sunday, is standing on a stage in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo in a cream-colored pantsuit in her triumphant final rally. Red-white-green balloons, wandering cones of light in the evening sky, in the background the illuminated obelisk. Meloni walks the length of the stage like a pop star, filming herself and her flag-waving supporters: “Italy first!” she exclaims, and “We are ready to restore Italy’s freedom and pride!” drew attention to the first key point of their program of “Fatherland, God, Family”. As always, the other two will follow.
A party slogan with heavy historical baggage
“Patria, dio, famiglia” is the slogan of Meloni’s party, the “Fratelli d’Italia”, the “Brothers of Italy”, FdI for short. She didn’t invent the slogan, it came about around the turn of the century and then became the synthesis of Benito Mussolini’s vision: God as the only truth; the fatherland as the place to be defended; the family as guarantor of reproduction. It’s a slogan with heavy historical baggage, and Giorgia Meloni has carried it across the country in recent weeks. She was the only one who relied on old-fashioned rallies and took on a real slog in this campaign. In just under four weeks, she completed at least one performance for each of the twenty Italian regions, on the premise of returning to Rome every 48 hours.
Everywhere the big piazzas, everywhere the selfie with the audience, Rino Gaetano’s “Il cielo è semper più blu” as the soundtrack, then immigration, security, Europe, identity, family, at the end the national anthem. Meloni often appeared in all white. Not because it just happened to be hot and summer. White stands for innocence and purity, the Madonnas in Italy’s churches are white, the Alfa Romeo that was always ready to go behind Meloni’s stage is white, and white contrasts with black, the color of the fascists. Meloni absolutely wanted to avoid being pushed near them on the piazzas – and yet he was there all the time. Her closeness to the post-fascist legacy was as obvious as the Colosseum on a stroll through Rome’s historic center. The election posters alone: They showed the Fiamma Tricolore, a stylized flame in green, white and red, next to Giorgia Meloni’s smiling face.