London is offbeat and tolerant. London is sunny, and incredibly warm and embracing – especially this year – so far from the stereotypes that depict it merely as a rainy and humid place. This summer, actually, looks particularly bright and even though we’re heading into the Olympics, the English feel no fear and have already adapted to the summer heat. They no longer represent – perhaps – those nineteenth century minds who would at best appreciate late rays peeking over the mountains of Liguria and that for nothing in the world would ever dare to gaze out to the beaches in Sicily? However, the favourable climate seems to make everything much easier and one often forgets to be walking in the streets of such a crowded city. Despite its gigantic proportions, the city extends for more than 60km and it’s divided into small entities: all neighbourhoods with a personality of their own, a strong human dimension, historical and well-preserved dwellings, as well as discreet and rigorous family units. Green is everywhere: from the worldly famous great parks like Hyde Park to the more limited spaces which are managed from the citizens themselves. Nature, sport and healthy food are as important as a pint of beer in a pub after work. And these, of course, are on the corner of every street: pubs are places where nothing – except the ubiquitous big flat screens broadcasting sport news – seems to have changed in decades; there’s even the same smoky pall and the soft lights, a dark and dense atmosphere, like Guiness – which people usually drink at room temperature, almost tepid. Nothing modern – so it seems – can be found in these unique places, irreproducible despite globalisation and despite all the efforts made by English-native businessmen who immigrated all over the continent. Because difference lays in the people who attend them from 5 o’clock onwards, after working visiting your favourite pub can become a necessity; for men and women equally.
Written by Cinzia Pierantonelli
Translated by Rocco Massarelli